Principled Parenting Series

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Leila
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Principled Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 17 Oct 2014, 00:02

Day 55: What’s the Point of Parenting? | Principled Parenting
http://journey-to-new-life.blogspot.com ... nting.html

Parenting, children, family – why do we do it? What is the point?

This is a question I’ve walked – though not per se explicitly – within my Motherhood Paranoia blog series.
Through walking, investigating and examining my own mind-set within the context of being a parent/mother – the starting point that currently prevails in our world is: survival. Where, each one of us basically thinks that ‘we know best’ and within this belief, think we are entitled to ensure the continued existence of this ‘know-how’ by passing it on to our children who will in turn pass it on to theirs. To what point? This is not really clear – since if we keep going down the road we are heading, we are on to road to global annihilation. So while the final destination’s not really clear, there’s a clear sense in each one of us that ‘we must just keep on going’ – maybe just to ensure that someone of our lineage would be present at the end of the race as the end of our race.

But – that’s not really a worthwhile scheme to invest your time and energy in, but that’s just my perspective.

So, what is?

Well, if I look at the type of world I would like to live in, the type of world I wished I would have grown up in – it is one of exploring and testing out the limits of my potential; in other words, pursuing and realising my utmost potential – being and living the best possible version of myself that I can be.

And this is exactly what Parenting should be about.

One little problem though, is that our world hasn’t been set up to allow us to explore and realise our utmost potential. So even though we would like this for our children, the reality of the situation is that within our own limitation – our ‘guiding hand’ is more likely to control them and condition them to grow within the bounds of our own limitations, rather than our hand being a guiding force for the child to explore its own self-expression and utmost potential. Whether we like it or not, who we are and how we live impacts our children.
We all want things to be ‘better for our children’, compared to ‘how things were for us’ – but the truth of the matter is that we can’t just ‘want’ things to be different; we have to actually be and live differently, to manifest the opportunity for our children to live things differently. Often, people want things to be different for their children, and will spend a lot of time, money and energy in ‘getting the best’ for their children; but will do so within already having given up on themselves. Where “it’s already too late for me, but my child may still have a chance!” Yet, within that very act of self-defeat – you are sending the exact opposite message to your child. Not one of utmost potential, but one of ‘settling’ and ‘accepting that you are all that you can be’.

If you believe you can fix yourself through having a child, or believe a child will make things better for you – think again; because everything you are unhappy about with yourself, everything that bothers you about yourself/your life that you do not direct or bring to correction – will only blow up in your face a hundred times over – screaming for attention.

The bottom-line is – that parenting starts with the parent first. Whatever you want for your child, you have to live first. This adds a whole new dimension to parenting, and this a dimension of utmost responsibility. Your responsibility towards your child, starts with your responsibility towards yourself first. Unless you are actively engaged in fostering and developing your own utmost potential, there is only limitation ahead in the child’s future.

To be continued…



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Re: Principled Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 21 Oct 2014, 23:28

Day 56: Who Is My Child? | Principled Parenting
http://journey-to-new-life.blogspot.com ... ipled.html

In my previous blog I explained how a parent’s responsibility starts with self first.

This seems paradoxical, how can my responsibility towards my child start with a responsibility towards myself?

I came across a piece of Osho writing which I find pertinent to this point:

“Nobody has been exploited so much as children -- neither the proletariat nor women, nobody has been exploited so much and so deeply and so destructively as the innocent children. Because they are helpless and dependent they have to learn whatsoever you teach them. They have to imbibe all the falsehoods that you go on forcing upon them. It is a question of survival for them -- they cannot survive without you. It is a question of life and death! They have to be Christians, Hindus, they have to be Mohammedans, they have to be Jainas, they have to be Buddhists, they have to be communists. Whatsoever you are interested in putting into their minds, you go on putting it in. Instead of making them more alert, more aware, more alive, more reflective, instead of making them more mirrorlike, pure, you make them full of ideas...layers and layers of dust. And then it becomes impossible for them to see that which is. They start seeing that which is not and they stop seeing that which is.“

We cannot know, see or assess what is best for a child, if we are coming from a box of ideas. These ideas come from memories of our life, based on experiences we’ve collected. When we want to direct or guide a child, we can only do so from within the limited bounds of the box – as if the ideas in the box are the only options available, and whether they are actually best or not for the child becomes irrelevant – what is relevant is that the ideas and opinions we’ve gathered through life are put to good use.

This is obviously not the best way to go about raising a child.


Why?

Here we come to the dimension of responsibility towards your child that is not directly related to you and where it comes to being all about the child. The child is a person on his own. He or she is a life-form, which came through you, but is not owned by you. Every child has his or her own unique expression, and that expression will differ from your own and other members of the family. Your child as a life-form happened to have come through within your family-setting, but could have sprouted up anywhere else just the same. There should be no entitlement involved in raising children; where you believe you have the right to raise your child ‘this and that way’ because ‘he/she is MY child and I can do with MY children whatever I want’. Children are not supposed to be possessions, they are gifts. They are gifts with an immense amount of responsibility attached to them. Because here we have a life-form, that like Osho says – is completely helpless and dependent – and here we have you, the parent, as an able-bodied individual – that can stand in as a point of support where the child cannot for itself. And everything you do, everything you say will impact the child. Better still, the child counts on it that you know what you’re doing, and that you’re looking after its best interest. It gives you its trust completely.

Most of us have our own experiences with our parents where we are less than happy with the way they treated us, with ways in which they imposed their ideas, their way of doing things, their opinions and their values. Some we rejected forcefully, others we are not even aware we are living. We’ve all seen and realised the extent to which our own parents influenced us and influenced our life’s path. Some we are grateful for, others we’d like to erase from our minds.

So: Who Am I in relationship to my Child? – is that of Self-Support to ensure that one is working on breaking down the walls of self-limitation to open up the way to self’s utmost potential.
Who Is My Child in relationship to Me? – is that of a life-form here to express itself, to develop itself and grow into its utmost potential.

Which then brings us back to the role of the Parent, where Who I Am in relationship to my Child is that of support, direction and guidance – as self has walked and is busy walking the path to utmost potential and is aware of the stumbling blocks, the temptations, the falls, the consequences and what it takes to correct ones misalignments.

Within this, an interesting thing takes place, because as you commit yourself to the development of another to its utmost potential, new dimensions and aspects of yourself and your own self-expression open, where the limits of your potential will shift in the most surprising moments and ways.

So realising that having and raising a child within this principle, the principle of Life, is a task of utmost responsibility – it is best to develop and work on one’s own potential as much as one is able to before taking on this task; as it will make it easier to develop your child’s potential rather than its limitation.

Currently when we look at family and having children, we go by sheer ‘feeling’ to decide when we want to have children. We get a feeling that we want a baby, we get oozie at the idea of having a family, pictures and imaginations start popping in our heads, they seem so nice – and then one day you say the words: I want to have a baby! If you’re lucky, the adults looking at starting a family will first consider their financial stability before entertaining the reality of having a family – but many will allow the feeling and desire for a family/baby to overpower common sense practicality and bring into this world a child that is necessarily compromised.

Raising a child being the responsibility of holding Life in your hand, to grow it, to develop op it without rigidly moulding it, without breaking it – is a massive task in itself. To lay this responsibility unto yourself whilst not being in a financially stable position makes it that much more massive, if not impossible. It is easy to get carried away by feelings, pictures and imaginations of what it would be like to have a child. But realise that there, you are looking at your own ambitions, your own interest of how you want things to be – and are not actually taking into consideration the life of the future child, who will suffer the consequences.

I really want to stress this point because, parenting is the most important job in the world and it’s an all-or-nothing situation. Once you are a parent, that’s is: no take backs – and it’s a responsibility you will have to live with for the rest of your life. It can be fun and rewarding and it can also send you straight down to hell – if you have the choice, prepare yourself in the best way you can to make sure that you are up to the task.

So really, a parent’s responsibility towards the child doesn’t start with self, but starts with self before there is even an actual child.

To be continued



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Leila
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Re: Principled Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 22 Oct 2014, 22:38

Day 57: Who Is My Child? Expansion | Principled Parenting
http://journey-to-new-life.blogspot.com ... nsion.html

I was asked a question in relation to my previous blog, specifically in relation to this part:

“Children are not supposed to be possessions, they are gifts. They are gifts with an immense amount of responsibility attached to them.”

The question was: How does a child ‘being a gift’ and ‘being a parents’ creation’ fit together?

These two points are seemingly at odds with each other; because if a child is a given then the role as parent is limited, but if the child is a creation then the role of the parent is grand.

Yet, these two points need not be at odds with each other, when they refer to different dimensions/aspects of what is involved in caring and raising a child.

So let’s expand on each dimension in isolation first, and then bring them together:

A Child is a Gift
In my previous blog I wrote:

“The child is a person on his own. He or she is a life-form, which came through you, but is not owned by you. Every child has his or her own unique expression, and that expression will differ from your own and other members of the family. Your child as a life-form happened to have come through within your family-setting, but could have sprouted up anywhere else just the same.”

Within having a child, you are the receiver of life, the receiver of life in the form of a child / another human being. The life that is here as your child is not something you created, this life/life-force was already here – but is now taking on a different form. So when you are pregnant and have a child, yes your body creates another body and bring together and creates from itself all the substances/material to make another individual body possible, as the form in which this life will manifest itself. But even here, ‘you’ as that part of yourself that you are aware of; is not involved in its creation – your body did all the work and ‘you’ as that of yourself which you are aware of was simply a bystander in the whole process and did not contribute anything (for more on this, see Day 26: How are Babies Created?).

So within that, your child as life is a ‘gift’ given to you, a piece of life being shared with you for a moment (in the scope of the enternity of life) , for you to have the opportunity be a custodian of another form of life other than yourself. But your child as life is part of the totality of life that is here, it was not 'created' by you.

A Child is a Creation
A child is not only life, it is also a person. Part of being a person, is having been born with a clean slate (if we leave out the unconscious and DNA programming) that is ready to be written on, ready to be instructed. Through the inputs parents provide to their children, an equal and one output is created as the character of the child. This input consists of in-form-ation; which forms and shapes the child. From that perspective, the child is a creation – because its personhood is dependent on what instruction it receives from its environment. And this personhood, is an intrinsic part of being a human being, and will determine the child's relationship with and towards life, and thus towards him/herself.


So when we bring the two points together, we see that a child is a gift in the child being life – and the child is a creation in being a form – and so your child is a = life-form.

The two points do not need to exclude one another as they refer to two different dimensions/aspects of a singular manifestation.



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Re: Principled Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 03 Nov 2014, 23:21

Day 58: What does it mean to ‘be a Mother’? | Principled Parenting
http://journey-to-new-life.blogspot.com ... other.html

This blog is a continuation and extension of:


Day 55: What’s the Point of Parenting? | Principled Parenting
Day 56: Who Is My Child? | Principled Parenting
Day 57: Who Is My Child? Expansion | Principled Parenting


When I first found out that I was pregnant and was going to have a child in the near future – my eyes went wide open at the thought of "I am going to be a mother”.

I hadn’t really looked at or contemplated the point of being/becoming a mother or investigated what it really means to ‘be a mother’. So when I looked at the point of ‘being a mother’, I was still looking and accessing an idea/construct outside of myself where ‘being a mother’ means ‘so and so’ and ‘mothers do this and that’ where being a mother was like pulling on a suit/playing a character with a set script; and where I was essentially looking at becoming this other person because I don’t really know what to do with a child/baby, but this ‘mother character’ does!

So with being faced with the new point and stepping into the unknown – I immediately accessed a point of having no self-trust. Where I am aware that I am stepping into something new, fear that I will ‘not get it right’/make mistakes – immediately lose all trust within myself and reach outside of myself for a structure/direction to ‘tell me what to do’.

I didn’t yet see and realise that nothing was really changing. I mean, yes, things were changing in that my physical reality was going to be a whole lot different and my responsibilities would need to adapt to this new situation – but in terms of ‘who I was’ and ‘who I was going to be required to be’ – this would not need to change, as I would be taking the principles I stand by and work with into this new journey, and these principles = don’t change. So when I was looking at having to become this ‘whole other person’, this ‘mother’ – I for a moment completely abandoned my principles and was looking for someone/something outside of myself to prescribe my behaviour and how to go about this new situation, instead of simply trusting myself and walking the process moment by moment and falling back on my principles to ascertain for myself ‘what to do’ whenever a question would arise.

I then as I was pregnant worked with my ideas and beliefs around ‘being a mother’ so that I would be able to remove as much “disinformation” as I could for myself before actually being a mother, so that when the time comes, I would then be able to see more clearly what to do/how to approach things without these ideas/beliefs influencing my approach.

Here are some blogs I wrote at that stage in relation to my ideas/beliefs/memories connected to ‘being a mother’:

Day 09: M-o-t-h-e-r
Day 10: What does it mean to be an Adult? – Mother (Part 2)
Day 11: Because I Said So – Mother (Part 3)
Day 12: Fear of Becoming My Mother
Day 13: Fear of Becoming My Mother - Part Two


Walking this process of looking at how I had constructed an idea about ‘what it means to be a mother’ and deconstructing it assisted me a lot in clarifying points for myself and giving myself direction.

When you aren’t a mother or have had no actual experience with children – all you have is knowledge and information. And this knowledge and information consists firstly of your own experiences with your own mother and other female figures in the family, and then all of the impressions you’ve received from your environment as your friends’ families, school, media, etc. So you have all these inputs that you’ve received about ‘what it means to be a mother’ – but all of it is all just knowledge and information. You haven’t yet actually walked the process of ‘being a mother’, so you don’t really know what’s real and what’s not, what’s relevant and what’s not.

So walking the process of going through the information and knowledge you’ve acquired and compartmentalized in your ‘being a mother’-file inside yourself, is quite handy in sorting out ‘the good from the bad’ and seeing and checking which information will benefit you to raising another being within the framework of What is Best for All – and which information/scripts should be deleted/removed when it becomes apparent that they produce harmful effects.



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Re: Principled Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 07 Nov 2014, 12:27

Day 59: Redefining ‘Mother’ – Living Simplicity | Principled Parenting
http://journey-to-new-life.blogspot.com ... iving.html

In my previous blog I described some points I faced with the idea of ‘becoming a mother’, where I was lacking trust within myself which moved me to look for ‘what to do’ and ‘how to be’ within the information and knowledge I had acquired over my life on the topic of ‘being a mother’.

What was quite fascinating was that most of the inner conflict and friction which played out inside myself, took place predominantly while I was pregnant and not yet a mother in fact – where I was still busy entering the ‘unknown’ and would allow myself to get swept away by little nagging fears which would present themselves here and there. Then – when I had my baby and looking back in retrospect: most of the points I had been fussing about inside myself simply disappeared. Turned out that ‘being a mother’ and ‘thinking what it’s like to be a mother’ are worlds apart (surprise! Lol).

While I had carried much anxiety about the new role I would be taking on – actually living it was a down to earth process, simply walking things moment by moment. Assessing new points, new directions as they come up – always referencing back to my principles, cross-referencing with others: basically walking the mother process as I would walk any other point or project.

It keeps astonishing me how much value and credit we tend to give to the thoughts, imaginations, ideas and projections that come circling inside our head. When I was in that state – it felt ‘so real’ so ‘convincing’ all these worries, thoughts – they must be valid! They must be relevant! But then when you get to the actual physical living of a point or process, they just go *poof*. Makes you wonder what else in your reality you’re investing credence into that’s just waiting to get caught out and disappear.

If I look at the amount of information I was holding unto and what I perceived ‘being a mother’ to be – it was a mountain of stuff and if you looked up you couldn’t see the end of it. Then, the actual walking, what it actually entails – the simplicity of what you’re actually working with = you can hold it in the palm of your hand.

We tend to bring and haul in so many issues when we look at what it means to parent, to being a mother – as we’re very good at making things complicated and valuing things which are of little relevance. For that, it can be helpful to look at nature and how nature/the animals express parenting/being a mother. Animals don’t share our weakness for making things complicated and creating attachments where none are required. So when we look at nature / the animal kingdom and the general (with the emphasis on general because some animals’ parenting could use some serious upgrading, like the geese we have on our farm) trend of how ‘being a mother’ is expressed – it is actually a very simple point:

You have an animal who gave birth to another animal/being and who nurtures/looks out for the animal until the animal can take that role unto itself and then that’s that. And here, even the ‘birthing’ part is optional in the animal kingdom (as some animals raise other animals their young albeit knowing or unknowingly).

One lioness is not going to be bothered worrying about what any other lionesses thinks of her parenting or how she looks as a mother or how her cubs look/act compared to other cubs, she doesn't go off gossiping with other lionesses or whatever other weird things we humans entertain and preoccupy ourselves with.

Now, in terms of humans and walking your Journey to Life – it’s just a matter of taking this elementary point and placing it within the context of what is Best for All so that you as a mother take it upon yourself to guide, nurture and direct your child so he/she may achieve its utmost potential in all dimensions (eg. physically and in one’s character/expression).

Once you have integrated this definition as your baseline, as what you are living by within being ‘a mother’ – it’s just a matter of living and walking day by day, moment by moment – and checking that whenever a decision/direction arises, that your course of action/decisions matches your commitment of living the word ‘mother’. And you simply check: if I do this, am I in anyway compromising my child? Is there another way? Is there a better way? Am I adhering to an idea/belief/value inside my head or am I taking into consideration physical reality / what will actually empower/support my child?

And as you go along, you may make mistakes, you may find that there was a different way, a better way, you may find you acted according to a belief that you weren’t aware of, … -- and so you specify yourself and improve your way of seeing/looking at things and perfect your skills of supporting another being as yourself. But the one point which is paramount, is to in every moment check and cross-reference your course of actions/decisions within yourself, within your own self-honesty. To have that relationship of engagement with yourself where you check every point to ensure that you are in fact parenting in awareness, that you are in fact in every moment being the directive principle, that you have in fact checked the foundation of your decision and that you can stand by it – to not leave a moment up to ‘automated parenting’ where you’re just acting and directing things from a starting point of ‘what you think’ you should be doing, where you haven’t actually investigated the basis of what you are doing or merely acting/playing out a pattern not really knowing why or how you could improve it. These are the ‘danger traps’, where if you leave the directive seat within yourself for a moment, and kind of ‘sit back and relax’ within yourself and act/live/guide according to how you feel, how you are experiencing yourself and the things that pop-up in your head: those are the moments where you are stunting your own self-expansion, your own potential and directly stunt and diminish your child’s self-development and expression. And this is about the 'hardest' part of being a parent - to keep pushing and moving yourself to be in the directive seat, to move and live in awareness - to make that decision to live and create a reality for yourself where you're the one checking and directing things, and to move and keep your feet out of the mind's reality: over and over again until one day there is only one reality as the one where you're constantly in awareness and the directive principle in every single moment.



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Re: Principled Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 01 Jan 2015, 22:03

Day 68: Parenting as Duty vs Parenting as Self-Expression - Part 2 | Principled Parenting
http://journey-to-new-life.blogspot.com ... nting.html

Continuing from previous blog, Day 67: Parenting as Duty vs Parenting as Self-Expression - Part 1 | Parenting & Fairness :

‘So when you parent from a starting point of duty – you do the same. You do what needs to be done but once the need has been removed you stop, you retreat. Parenting is then a formality, you do it because ‘it is written somewhere’ that you have to do it. You don’t do it from a point of understanding, you don’t put anything from yourself into it, you don’t allow yourself to explore what is possible when there is ‘no more need’, you don’t do it just for the sake of it – the very notion of spending more time/moments with your child, giving more of yourself is seen as ‘a waste’ (just as you would paying more than what your debt told you to pay). And every time you ‘pay your dues’ as ‘tending to your child’ – you take note of it, you keep a record – just like you would with a bank account where money movement is involved. And then later, when you child is older – you can remind him/her of these records and what the child now ‘owes you’ in return. Look at all these things I did for you – now what will you do for me?
This is parenting on automatic mode – there’s no life in your actions, in your attention. You are simply reacting to impulses. The impulses stop and you stop. You did not do those things ‘for the child’ – you did them out of duty, you fulfilled your duty – but you did not fulfil your child.’

When you parent from a starting point of self-expression, you move beyond reaction to responsiveness. There is nothing else moving you but yourself. You child needs you and you tend to your child – and then some. You are not keeping track of ‘what you are giving’. When you react, your action is dictated by what you are reacting to, you do the bare minimum, you do it grudgingly, you always do it the same way because you do not know of another way.

When you respond from responsiveness, from response-ability – you move yourself to respond simply because you can. You do not yet know how you will respond, this is unpredictable – only the moment will tell. You respond to the same need in many different ways, because you response is not dictated, it is not determined by the need – it is an expression of yourself. And how you express yourself changes from moment to moment. You stop meeting needs and you start meeting moments.

Say, your baby needs a diaper change. When you change a diaper from a starting point of duty, you change the diaper the way you always change the diaper. You are meeting/fulfilling the diaper change. When you change a diaper from a starting point of expression, you look at yourself, you look at your child and you change your child’s diaper in a way that takes you and your child into account. Your child is in different expressions in different moments, and so every diaper change becomes unique as you meet your child and his/her need for a diaper change in that specific moment. The focus is on meeting the moment which is all-encompassing, the focus is not on the need.

-----

The above piece I wrote as I finished my previous blog, to give myself a starting point for the next one to come (this one).

Now, as I have been going through my days since I wrote my previous blog and the piece above – I have been mulling over the point of ‘Parenting as Self-Expression’ and how to best explain it and describe it. Each time I think I found a good way to put it – and look at it again; I drop it, because in the very act of trying to describe it and define it – I am already limiting it in one way or another.

The reason why Parenting as Duty is easy to describe and explain, is because it is so very limited, repetitive and systematic. It is you behaving and conducting yourself according to particular rules that you follow. With Parenting as Self-Expression, I can give examples and stories – but those are only reflections of a ‘moment’ and they were only valid and true in that moment and they were only valid and true for me in that moment. What is a point of Expression for me, is not going to be a point of Expression for another.

Whenever I am looking into adapting a new skill or insight into my life, I often (if not always) have the tendency to look for guidelines, descriptions, some ‘how to’ to tell me what to do and how to act. I want to ‘read up’ on it and have as much information and knowledge available to myself that I can reference before I actually start walking/living/applying the new skill or insight into my life.

And even though I am doing all these things because ‘I want to be prepared’ and ‘really wanting to get this integrated in my life’ – it’s this search for descriptions, guidelines and info that in the end limits me and how I walk and live the point, because I am constantly reaching back to the information I hold within myself and trying to ‘make sense’ of the moment and what I am doing and trying to do it along the lines of the information. In those moments, I lose myself because I am holding knowledge and information as my starting-point instead of drawing from myself and simply walking/doing it and then I get disappointed with myself and the new point I wanted to integrate in my life, simply because I was not trusting myself to walk unconditionally in the moment.

The best way to find out for yourself what Parenting and Self Expression is – is to simply do it and live it. For me, this was realising all the moment where I was acting and behaving in a way which was dictated by beliefs, ideas, thoughts, emotions, feelings – were not supportive for myself nor for my child, and so to instead push and move myself to be here in every moment, to be clear and directive. I didn’t know what I was going to be doing, or ‘how’ I was going to be – but I knew that holding on to what I was doing was not going to work.

So looking at it now, you need to change the conditions that facilitate the ‘growth’ of Parenting as Self Expression – just as you would prepare the soil/environment for a new plant/seed to grow. Where for the Seed of Self-Expression to germinate and flower – breath, presence and directiveness representing the ‘optimal conditions’ within which Parenting as Self-Expression can emerge. Whereas holding on to thoughts, beliefs, morality, emotions and feelings – is like pounding a bag of salt into the soil and never ever providing water to your seed, pretty much killing any opportunity for your seed to unfold – you will remain stuck in status quo.

So it’s not about what and how you will do things, but directing who you are in every moment. If ‘who you are’ is in place, the rest simply follows naturally.




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