Conscious Parenting Is About Raising Ourselves Before Our Children

  • I fully accept that parenting is about raising myself, not my child.
  • I realize that the onus for change lies solely with me, not my child.
  • I am aware that my struggles are reflections of inner conflicts.
  • I will transform each challenge into a question that asks, “What does this say about me?”

~ “Affirmations To Raise Oneself”, The Awakened Family by Shefali Tsabary

Conscious Parenting Is About Raising Ourselves Before Our Children

Conscious Parenting Is About ‘Bringing Forth’, Not ‘Belonging’

This poem by the wise poet Kahlil Gibran has been an inspiration and a guide ever since I was pregnant with Lia. It can be a rather shocking idea for some parents, but I hope in here you will find some truths to our role as ‘parents’. The way that we’ve learn to parent our children involves control, manipulation (no matter how creative it appears to be, or how we think we’re ‘disciplining’ them), “should”s and “no”s and “I know better than you”s. In our wanting the best for them, we take on living their lives for them unknowingly – after all, they ‘belong’ to us because they are ‘from us’, right?

That might be true biologically, but if you reference the origin of the word (Latin ‘parent’), it means ‘bringing forth’.  Nope, there’s nothing about owning them in there. Instead, it means as parents, we are tasked a role as their guardians to ‘bring them forth’ into themselves.

Here’s how Kahlil puts it elegantly:

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

~ “On The Children”, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Conscious Parenting Is About ‘Bringing Forth’, Not ‘Belonging’

Conscious Parenting Holds Up The Mirror

“The conscious parent may make as many mistakes as any other, but the difference is that they are able to face those mistakes and then ask themselves,”What do these mistakes say about how I need to grow?””

~ “Myth #1: Parenting Is About The Child”, The Awakened Family by Shefali Tsabary

It is common for us to feel guilt, anger or sadness directed at ourselves AFTER we commit a ‘parenting mistake’. We punish ourselves for our mistakes by directing guilt, anger or shame within, but blaming ourselves doesn’t forward or grow us. In fact, indulging in such behavior is a way to let ourselves off the hook. This indulgence distracts us from being honest to ourselves, because that might be painful. Learning how we played a part in the mistake means reflecting on the thoughts and behaviors that might’ve unleashed unconsciously.

The best way to serve your child is to love yourself by getting wiser and fixing these mistakes.

Conscious Parenting Holds Up The Mirror

Conscious Parenting: Reality vs. Fantasy

As parents, we romanticize what it means to be a mother or a father. We imagine how our children will turn out because of what wonderful, patient, giving and wise parents we would be. However more often than not, the reality of parenting is different from what we visualize and dream of. When the gap between fantasy and reality gets too large, we find ourselves struggling with the truth – stress, frustration, self-blame happens as we begin to wonder where it all went wrong. Marriages take a turn for the worse when finger pointing begins.

Where do I need to get real with myself about the fantasies of parenting I might be harboring? I have to admit that I imagine my daughter engaging in intelligent dialogues with me as I impart wise life lessons to her, packing up her toys after playing because she practices discipline, and respecting nature on our hikes.

Somehow at this point, the crucial questions come rushing in. Listing it down makes we wonder why I have these fantasies. What am I hoping to prove to myself? Why is this  fantasy important? Am I trying to make up for what I didn’t get to experience in my own childhood with my parents? 

I guess being happy on this journey of parenting means letting go of these notions. Let us not open the door to invite disappointment in. Take a deep breath, inhale courage and peace, let it all go, and open my mind and heart to what might be. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We will forge our journey as we walk the path together.

Conscious Parenting: Reality vs. Fantasy