I’d like to thank you all for your patience with the current irregularity of the blog and social media posts. Transitioning two high-risk dementia patients into a steady, suitable form of post-COVID daycare is likely to take weeks or months as many of their programs have insurance challenges, so they are just testing methods of meeting, but don’t really plan on fully restarting until after the Delta wave of the pandemic. That said, I will do my best to maintain the old schedule of daily social media posts, and twice-weekly blogs. To that end, here is today’s blog post:
I know I recently wrote about some of these issues relating to the raising of children, but there’s a lot of interest in discussing these subjects further. In particular, people are wondering about how they can parent in ways that will prevent their kids from feeling the insecurities and anxieties that their parents feel.
Ironically, much of that anxiety is accidentally caused by parents who are very conscious of the responsibilities of parenting. They will—because it happened to them— have a strong tendency toward parenting from the prevention side. And because this perspective is subtle, many people aren’t even aware that almost all of their parenting is about what a kid should not do.
But a lot of those ‘nots’ exist only in an adult’s thinking. Humans started off with a cave being luxury. That was home. And when kids are born, before they learn all of our rules, a house is a cave. There is nothing sacred because they don’t even know what things are. What’s ‘expensive?’ What’s ‘glass?’ What’s ‘sharp?’
All of these definitions will be taught to them by the world and by us. The challenge for parents is: the things taught by the world are always real. But the things taught by parents are often only ego-based ideas that will come to haunt the adult future of the children who are subjected to those reactions.
‘Sharp’ and ‘glass’ are two things that exist in the world. ‘Expensive’ is an idea. No alien culture can land here and find ‘expensive.’ Maybe some things are harder to get, and therefore are rarer, and more coveted. But ‘harder,’ and ‘less’ and ‘desire’ are very real senses and feelings that existed before the invention of ‘money.’
Contrary to the realness of those experiences, the ‘guilt’ we feel over having accidentally broken someone’s ‘expensive’ item are all thoughts. Those then produce chemistry that we don’t enjoy experiencing. So essentially, in talking to ourselves, our egos torture us.
Certainly, regret for having injured a friend’s space and finances etc. is a natural and healthy feeling that helps communicate we care about each other. Modelling that for a kid is great. But modelling anger, or guilt, months later, exists entirely as a collection of thoughts. Those are not real feelings about the present. Those are language-based, ego-created emotions about an event that is long-passed.
So why is the unhealthy adult constantly re-living these unfortunate moments? It’s not like life doesn’t guarantee them. It’s because our parents often accidentally teach us how to feel guilty about inevitable things by continuing to think about them when the thinking accomplishes nothing.
So how do happy peaceful people do it? We don’t overthink things because something—life, our parents, my course—taught us in a really meaningful way, that unfortunate things will happen and that we should take the appropriate responsibility and then leave the issue alone.
It is that verb of how to leave an idea alone that adults must learn, after being programmed into having egos. But it’s worth it, because egos berate. When a mistake is made, it is brought up over and over in our minds as some form of defining moment in our character. In reality most things are things that happen to virtually everyone. Mistakes are a part of growing up and changing. We make them until we die.
Unless we have a healthy relationship regarding how to manage our learning (mistakes) in our consciousness, we can take a good life and ruin it with guilty, insecure or anxious thoughts about who we should be. That pattern starts when we’re young, when it’s often assumed that our explorations and discoveries about the world are really ‘bad behaviour.’
Remember: kids live in caves. They will, bit by bit, slowly learn a fantastic amount in a very short period of time. Miraculously, they will go from not even being aware that they exist, to finding things like gravity, and object permanence, and then on to words, and their algebra: grammar. It’s stunning, and we should spend less time angry and more time impressed.
For a baby, learning to walk is like becoming an Olympian. Intellectually, the same is true for discovering gravity. These are massive achievements. But on the physical task of learning to walk, we’re often very encouraging. Yet we’ll often get angry about the baby knocking things off the high chair as they test gravity. One is seen as an achievement, the other as bad behaviour. One gets cheers, the other angry faces and yelling.
We cannot live forever wanting the more developed kid of tomorrow. To help them see the real value in life and in themselves, we must be present with them today, while the discover the world—mistakes and all. If we join them, it’s a wonderful experience for all involved. But if, in our minds, we simply define their disruptive actions or mistakes as ‘bad behaviour,’ then we are passing on one of the most debilitating aspects of the human ego.
Trust your children. They are all brilliant. The real Einstein did not need Baby Einstein. What kids need is enough faith in themselves to be able to make mistakes. And then some enthusiasm about how the world is both discoverable, and comprehensible.
With that, and some guidance about how to work effectively with others, a child can be productive in society, while also creating a life filled with wonder, that is absent of the ego-based self-abuse that so many suffer from today.
Of course, we adults were once these kids. So the next time you start criticizing yourself, ask if the criticism was ever even valid in the first place? Because if people look at their self-criticisms closely, they often realize that many of the reasons they beat themselves up for, aren’t even really valid.
Free yourself. It’ll be easier for the kids to see the best in themselves if we’ve taught it to them by finding the best in ourselves too. And that ‘best’ is not some idealized achiever. That ‘best’ is someone who is present, and supportive, and they are someone who genuinely loves us.
Someone who is present, and therefore realistic, can not only teach us how to win, but they can teach us how to lose too. And that’s important, because when life gets hard, what takes people down is their inability to find their value during a defeat. What helps people succeed, is being familiar with finding their own value, so that they can find it even when times are dark.
If you would like to work with me to learn more about how to actively manage your consciousness, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start your journey to a more peaceful and rewarding life.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.