Do you ever get the feeling of gratitude and happiness when you read something that completely resonates with you? When every cell in your body screams “YES!” at the passages your read? That’s exactly how I felt when I was reading the book by Dr. Shefali Tsabary – The Conscious Parent. My soul was approving it. I got so excited and happy about what she was saying that I just had to share it with as many people as I can.
I am sure I’ll be writing more blog posts about this, but for now, I have this deep urge to copy her daily mantra that every parent should say. It contains defense from all the dogmas and wrong beliefs we carry into parenthood thinking we own our kids and have the right to control their lives.
If we continuously use these dogmas in our daily interaction with children, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when they rebel or turn their back on us, or worse, hurt themselves or others out of their desperation.
I ask to be released from the notion that I have any power or jurisdiction over my child’s spirit.
I release my child from the need to obtain my approval, as well as from the fear of my disapproval.
I will give my approval freely as my child has earned this right.
I ask for the wisdom to appreciate the sparkle of my child’s ordinariness.
I ask for the ability not to base my child’s being on grades or milestones reached.
I ask for the grace to sit with my child each day and simply revel in my child’s presence.
I ask for a reminder of my own ordinariness and the ability to bask in its beauty.
I’m not here to determine what course my child’s life should take.
I’m here as my child’s spiritual partner.
My child’s spirit is infinitely wise and will manifest itself in exactly the way it’s meant to.
My child’s spirit will reflect the manner in which I am invited to respond to my own essence.
Can you feel it? I get goosebumps! I know that some of you are not parents so this might not feel just right for you yet. But, I have a question for you too.
Is there part of you that wishes you were raised by conscious parents? And if you were raised by one, how does this mantra feel?
My little blue notebook
I was thinking of parenthood way before I became a parent myself. I was at the university and I was writing my thoughts and observations in a little blue notebook. It was meant to be a strong reminder of things I would and wouldn’t do as a parent.
I kept seeing different kinds of people around me, each of them raised differently, and each of them had some form of “lesson” for me to take away and apply to my own life.
I remember how important it was for me to be trusted by my parents to allow me to go to study abroad when I was 18 years old. They were always so encouraging and supportive and as a parent now, I can understand that it was not as easy as it looked back then.
I was waiving to them as the bus was leaving the station in Belgrade, on my way to Milano, with so many mixed emotions. I had 10 hours to calm my fear and excitement before arriving at my new home away from home.
First few months are always the toughest ones. You are in an entirely new environment, and everything you need or want comes with a price tag. Before, when we were living with our parents, everything that was around us was up for grabs. Now, you are learning both the quantitative and emotional math.
If I buy this now, I won’t be able to get that other thing later. Do I really need it? Hmmm, not really. Ok, leave it.
Before, parents were doing the math for us. We only had to ask, and then they were working their butts off to make it happen for us. On a daily basis, they were going through emotional rollercoaster – fears, tiredness, doubts, stress.
Now, it is finally our turn.
From one extreme to another
I was quite an extreme child. Once they’ve put me on a bus, that was it from me. I didn’t feel like complaining about things that were happening before me. Throughout my childhood the most repeated sentence by my parents was
You can do everything you set your mind to.
It was such a powerful voice that I picked it up and started owning it as my own. I turned all my attention to studying, almost like a soldier, and I didn’t have time to call my parents to tell them all the details. It was a bit selfish, but that was my way.
I knew they were worried sick, especially my mom, so I didn’t feel like burdening them with my daily topics. I was always saying how everything was great and how I’m enjoying the novelties around me.
Of course, I had tons of worries and fears and insurmountable problems, but luckily, my sister went to America a year ahead of me, so she had my back on many things. I knew that no problem lasts forever and everything settles with time. Saw it from her example, so I was patient.
On the other hand, I found out that a lot of my friends and colleagues had no independence even so far away from home. They were consulting their parents on almost every decision they had to make – starting with what classes to take, to expenses and choice of friends and extracurricular activities.
Other colleagues were so relaxed that they forgot the purpose of being in Milano. They used most of their money and time to explore, party and enjoy the long-awaited freedom away from their parents.
That made me think a lot about families and different upbringings. I searched for the root of the problems we see around us. Some of us need parent’s blessing for everything we do, some of us are utterly numb to that, some feel a huge responsibility, and some feel none.
I took my little blue notebook and started writing my thoughts and observations. I made some huge decisions back then already.
Here is a note that I wrote to me – a future parent:
Never try to control your child’s decisions by rubbing up to his nose all the money, energy and time you invested in him throughout his childhood.
It made me feel quite sad to see so many of my friends break down under the pressure of expectations of their parents. They were paralyzed by fear of being the “black sheep” in the family, the “one that disappointed everyone.” They carried so many insecurities within, and they lost their identity in search of the approval of others. Their most prominent and most horrible nightmare was to hear their parents say
We’ve sacrificed everything for you so you can study at the best university and have a chance to live a better life than me, and this is how you repay me? By wasting it all with your laziness?
Have you seen this before in your environment? Have you felt this way too?
Every child is different, and every parent is different. Not everybody is ready to leave home at the same time. Somebody needs to stay at home, and somebody needs to go away to fulfill their potential.
Somebody learns to swim when they throw him in the water. Others might develop fear or even drown down.
This mantra comes to me like an all-encompassing map:
- to never condition our child to seek our approval to walk forward with confidence
- to never compare him with others and measure his value by his grades or diplomas
- to never think we have the right to chose and control his future
- to enjoy in his uniqueness and simplicity
- to accept that our child is not here to fulfill our dreams and whims
- to recognize that our child has his own Karma and his own lessons to learn, and it is our job to be his spiritual and not a controlling partner
- to be conscious that parenting is the most significant spiritual journey and opportunity to grow, and our child is our Master who will test us the most.
So much wisdom in the words of Dr. Shefali and so much support for every parent if they are open to learning. I have found a lot of room for improvement on my side. I am excited for this journey towards becoming the conscious parent!
Have I convinced you to buy her books? How do you feel about this way of parenting? Shall we explore this topic further together?