Telling your kids what to do has little effect. Children often have a natural resistance to hear life lessons from their own parents. When I try to teach my children they almost automatically tune me out.
That’s why in Native American cultures and others, there was what was known as a second family. A family that had a special bond with the child and could teach the child what she needed to know without the family friction. In a second family, what couldn’t be heard from the biological parents was taken readily from others. I’m not saying don’t teach your children, I’m suggesting teaching them on a different level.
While children may have a natural resistance to learning from their parents on the inner level, they watch you like a hawk. They’ve been paying strict attention to who you are since even before birth. (Fetuses are already learning on a vibrational level. A child feels the emotions of mom through he umbilical cord and dad through mom’s emotional reaction to him.)
When I try to teach my kids some bit of knowledge I deem important, I watch them closely. They barely listen, but they see and feel everything I do—absolutely everything—on a deep level, and they take it on. My kids will use the exact words and tone of voice that I use to talk to our pets.
When children view your being, it’s not a didactic teaching. It’s a deep exchange of energy, a transmission of heart to heart, soul to soul.
The old saying: “Do as I say, not as I do,” is amusing, but children learn, not from what you do, but from what you are doing on the inside. Children know immediately if you are living in joy or misery. They know if you’re stressed, peaceful, fulfilling yourself or dissatisfied with your life. Kids see right through falseness and masks—even when they try to fool themselves—so I’m not suggesting to put on faces.
It’s ok to be in pain, everyone is at some time, but children pay attention to the overall way you live your life. They watch the coping mechanisms you use, and what makes you tick as a human being. They hear what you say when your talking to your friends or even when you talk to yourself. They see how you treat everyone: your boss, a certain ethnic group, or a beggar on the street—and they learn from it.
Chinese medicine tells us that when taking care of the child, start by nurturing the mother (Mother and father). If you want to provide a true example for your children, then fulfill your life so you can live in joy.
Some parents tell me that after they had kids, they stopped practicing yoga and meditation, or whatever they considered fun. Now, there’s no time, and they don’t want the kids to watch TV or play computer games.
I don’t think there’s any good in showing your kids that you’re willing to become a martyr. It’s far better that they see you doing what you need to do to move towards your own happiness, peace, and fulfillment. So what if they get a little TV?
However, there is a balance. While I was traveling overseas I met a woman, a spiritual leader, who led wilderness retreats. She helped many people through her teaching. After speaking to her for a few hours, she thought I might consider doing something similar.
I told her I can’t go too far because I have children. “So do I,” she said. It was interesting that she used the exact same words as I did. She said that she wanted her kids to see that she had actualized her greatest potential in the world. It may have worked for her, but children, especially young children, don’t understand. Children have an immediate need for love and human comfort. Kids need touch to wake up their bodies. They need warmth, and they need them on a daily basis.
When one has children I feel they should accept the fact, and actualize themselves in the presence of their kids. The greatest teaching you can give your child is to model an open, loving heart directed especially to them. They will take that deep into their own hearts and spread it out in the world.
I’d like my kids to be able to look back at their childhood and say, “my dad was a happy, loving guy, he actualized his life, and fulfilled himself.”
Most important I want them to know that I love them.