We recently had quite a remarkable reading of our children, our two gorgeous twins Emily and Joseph, which ended up being mostly reminders to us as parents. They seem to be highly relevant to all parents and so I have chosen to share them here. What follows is therefore essentially a transcript of our children’s message to us (and I think to parents everywhere):
1. Our children are responsible for their own Joy
The first reminder is this: each person on this planet is responsible for identifying, expressing and living out their own happiness. We recognise that that may be an obvious statement. But it is a very significant one to recognise, and to remember, in relation to playing the parent role. Of course the way that human living is designed makes it so that young human beings depend upon their parents for a long time, much longer than any other animal. That is not random. It is no coincidence that the species on this planet with the highest development of consciousness also spends the most time caring for and guiding their young. However, it is very significant not only to take care and guide your young, but also to convey to them powerfully, and clearly the truth that they and they alone are responsible for identifying and expressing and living out their joy.
What is happening a lot in the current parent-child dynamic within the culture that you know is that parents are taking their role too far, and children are growing up under the mistaken and damaging presumption that their parents are responsible for their happiness. It is a very debilitating and unfair teaching to convey, whether you are doing it consciously or not.
Now we recognise that especially with young children it is not as if you are sitting around the table and telling them your beliefs, it is not as if you have a list of your beliefs up on the wall. No, they are absorbing your beliefs by how you are, by what you embody, by the tiny little choices you make on a daily basis. You are not overtly telling your children what is so, but you are showing them anyway. So we raise with you a reminder that it is of great value: to show your children that they and they alone can own and make possible their joy. If you are giving them the opposite message, you are portraying an untruth that will trap them for much longer than is required, that will keep them resentful and unhappy for much more time than need be.
So in saying this to you, we are inviting you not only through your overt teaching, but through your day-to-day decisions, conversations, actions, to present to them consistently that they must own their joy. That is not the same as not taking care of them, it’s not the same as not considering them as equals in your home, and it is not the same as being parented the way you were parented. But we are alerting you to this, because culturally this is happening a lot. You might think that this produces happy children, it does not. Entitlement – mistaken entitlement – and happiness are not bedfellows.
We raise this with you so you may stay alert to this. It is easy within a particular time and culture to slip into practises that the current generation considers good, evolved and sophisticated. And many of the new parenting practises are that, but it is vital that you convey to your children the truth that you have had to battle for, work hard for. If it’s a truth to you, then it is your responsibility in the way you are with them to pass that along.
That is after all why the human species spends so much time with its young, in the interest of an evolved generation. Evolution can happen much more quickly in the human species, than in any other. It’s possible, for example, within one generation to change a habit, a practise, or a belief, that has been steadfastly adhered to for a long, long time. That does not happen so quickly in other species. That’s why you pour so much of your energy and time and other resources into your children, much more than any other species, and for the single reason that this should in theory support the optimum expansion of joyful living, high living, amongst human beings. And that is why we bring you these reminders.
2. The desires we have for our children are the desires we have for ourselves
The second reminder that we are very grateful to bring forward to you today is similar, but we will present it in a different way. We wish to suggest to you that the desires you have for your children are always the same as the desires you have for yourself. So if you are wondering what kind of person you really wish to be, engaged in what kind of pursuits, living what kind of lifestyle, free from what sorts of constraints, and expressing yourself in which particular manner you need only look for what you desire for your children.
It is appropriate when children are young to arrange their lives around your desires for them. They have agreed to that as souls. Understand that from our perspective, which is a perspective where choice is a deeply sacred gift, it is very strange to ever cede your desires over to another. But because of the length and intensity of time that human children spend with their parents this agreement is happily made in the interests of the greatest evolution of the children, and of the whole.
Children have agreed, which is not the agreement in other species, but in yours, children have agreed to spend some time of their life arranged under the desires of their parents. But please recognise this as an anomaly in the bigger picture. Please recognise this as an exception. There’s good reason for this exception, you have much to deliver of beauty to your children by raising them the way you want to. However, however, the time span where there is benefit in your desires running the show is short. It is appropriate, and it is valuable, and it is beautiful, but it is not ongoing.
And it is not true, simply not true, that you know and will always know and be able to know what is best for them. So many of you hold yourselves ransom to that misbelief. You are shackled under the burden of trying to know what is best for your children, and then what’s more, the burden of trying to make them choose that. Unnecessary, unnecessary effort and anxiety.
While they are young, and what we mean by young really differs from child to child, because at different stages children begin to assert their own desire, it depends on a number of factors. But while they are young, while they allow it, while it works, it is appropriate for you as parents to choose for them. But this is an exception, a short exception to the general rule, which is that it is the responsibility of each person to run their own lives, including, including children.
So we invite you to recognise then, to make clear to yourselves, what desires you are consciously or subconsciously hold for your children. What do you want for them? Who do you want them to be, what do you wish that they choose? Make those desires apparent to yourselves, so that you are not their slave, but can instead be their master.
Then, secondly, you must acknowledge that you want that for yourself. Your children are the closest experience you have in the human world to an extension of yourself. It’s a fascinating dynamic, and one that has tremendous opportunity for tremendous growth on both sides. So understand that your children, especially when they are young, are the closest thing you will experience to an extension of you. That means that you are likely – very likely – to project unto them your own un- or sub-conscious self, including what you fear and what you desire. That’s not a problem or a mistake or a tragedy. To some degree you can’t avoid doing that, and to some degree it’s necessary – it’s the way you fulfil your promise to your child, which is: ‘I promise that I will choose things on your behalf, for you, for a while’. And there is no possible way you can do that other than through the filter of your own desires. So it’s appropriate. However if, after a while, you confuse your desires with theirs, it makes this particular relationship deeply difficult.
So step one, become aware of what you desire for them, step two own that, and take steps towards giving it to yourself. In that way your children can be an enormous blessing to you, because they can alert you to what you may actually want for yourself, but are unwilling to acknowledge, or feel undeserving of, or think it’s too late for, and so on. You also do them a tremendous service in return by owning that those are your desires for you. Because if you take steps to realising them, you are much less likely to capture your children in the net of your own desires for longer than it is beneficial for them to be there. That is step two.
Step three is to begin, slowly, slowly in an age-particular way, to articulate to your children what are your desires for them. There will be times in their lives when it is appropriate and beneficial that your desires rule the roost. However, if you are making it apparent that they are your desires, then it will be easier for them to own their own desires, to know that there is space for those, to begin to take responsibility for them, express them and live them, rather than live yours. You can easily do this simply by the way you voice what happens in your home. Of course there are times when then choice of the child can happily and beneficially top yours, in certain instances. But in other instances, especially around subtleties like what we believe, and how we live, what we do with our resources, take care not to portray these as necessarily being what they must choose, but instead to articulate that these are your desires. They are what is happening at this stage, but at another stage the child must own their own choices, and of course make their own happiness.
We raise these two reminders here with you, in great love. Not at all because you are getting it wrong, but because you are getting it right. So many human beings misunderstand this particular dynamic. You presume when – in this context or any other – when you receive some guidance, a new way, a slight correction, perhaps you presume that that necessarily indicates you’ve been doing it wrong. What it necessarily indicates is the potential in you for getting it right, the capacity is already there, the permission for beautiful parenting must exist in you prior to us bringing this teaching. So please do not receive it as correction, receive it as acknowledgement, and further support of your clear permission to parent beautifully and wisely.