Our Kids, Our Future: The Need for a Re-LOVE-ution.
Part One: Demystifying Change.
“Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing.” Henry Miller
What’s Going On?
On the off chance that you hadn’t noticed, children are calling for change. This isn’t a petulant whine, or a spoilt brat whinge, its something very real and powerful. It could be quite worrying but more importantly It’s something that’s crucial to our collective evolution.
There has been a 1300 % rise in cases of Autism and official diagnoses for ADHD have escalated dramatically over the last 20 years. Additionally, children are now increasingly obese, depressed, medicated, involved in substance abuse, have behavioural issues and are often but mistakenly seen to be considered generally out of control; they aren’t, according to common public opinion, ‘like kids of the old days!”
The truth is, that children of today, through their apparent misfit behaviour and what is often erroneously interpreted as children making excessive narcissistic demands, is, actually an attempt to communicate something valid.. They are in truth, compelling us to shift perspectives and address the much wider, deeper issues through a series of alternate lenses.
Having been a mother for 24 years, a teacher and a Child Refugee Mentor, my life has been one that involved a lot of children in diverse circumstances. They say you should write about what you know; what you have personal experience of. For this reason I am convinced that it is we, as parents, educators and adults who hold the key and indeed the responsibility, to investigate more deeply these apparent dysfunctions. It’s imperative to sit up and take notice, think laterally, be reflective and search for the underlying meaning, causes and solutions behind these troubling phenomena. We have an emergency at hand: an opportunity for our children to ‘emerge’ into and merge with the World differently.
It is assumed that the modern child is wayward, insolent, idle and spoilt. It’s presumed the way forward is to return to traditional, paternalistic approaches to child rearing: Those that “worked in the Past.” Parents are frequently chastised for ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child’. They are accused of befriending their children rather than parenting them.
Historically, the approved way to address all issues that are non-compliant to the status quo was to wage war on them. Tough discipline was the remedy. As is distressingly apparent we have become hypnotised and addicted to the insane and largely useless habit of “fixing” things using violence or by increasing the deployment of more rules and regulations often founded in cruelty. Hoping that further punishment or increased heavy handed disciplinary action will provide the changes we covet, is part of the old belief system, the old energy, because it runs counter to that innate part of all of us that will always want reach for more independence, freedom and humanity. Contrary to popular belief, the Human Being does not thrive under excessive control
It’s interesting to observe that when we encounter problems there is a tendency to revert and refer to history, as though it holds answers pertinent to building an improved future.
Like a snake that needs to shed its skin in order to grow and become stronger, to survive; our belief systems need to do the same. We need to completely re-evaluate and reconsider our values, our ‘norms’ and accepted practices. We need to break things down and release attitudes that even invisibly truncate the creation of a new blueprint unencumbered by principals that no longer serve our society or us well.
We are undergoing immense, intense transformation. Our politics, our environment, and our relationships, to name a few are under incredible pressure. Society is in process of a detailed audit, which is eliciting a plea for innovative modifications and sometimes avant garde perspectives to be considered, embraced and implemented.
Change is an inevitable component of life. Nature proves this to us, but what kind of change and how that change is facilitated, lies in our hands; especially in the hands of those who are custodians of the next generation.
Prophets of doom, still held ransom by old belief systems, will scare you by proselytising that these changes portend the end of the World, as we know it. Economists, Scientists, Meteorologists and even some New Age theorists would all have you believe that a new Holocaust is about to break down the door if we don’t act quickly.
It’s not wise to buy into bullying or threats that make us feel fearful, powerless or useless. It’s not useful to give focus to the sorrows or the darkness. Our history is not a particularly pretty one but to invoke fear and put the problems of our current experience into a dualistic frame work of right and wrong action is, ironically, still deeply embedded in the old model of creating.
It is however, time to start daring to think differently and take commensurate action even in small ways, to release obsolete practices and begin to re-structure and re-build a global infrastructure that is more humane and most importantly child friendly. Why? Because at the end of the day we are all still children at our core.
We are being called forth, especially those who are concerned with the well being of children, to refrain from being motivated into action from fear. Instead we need to move deeper and more consciously into constructing a new experience by laying down a grid forged from justice and love. Rather than look backwards for inspiration we need to look forwards and into the eyes, hearts and souls of our little ones:They will provide profound answers.
[ppw id=”126844977″ description=”Chapter One Part One- OUR KIDS, OUR FUTURE: New Parenting Paradigms.” price=”11.00″]
Are we there yet?
No, not yet dear!
It’s an unfortunate and misguided system that we live in when Armies and Defence are given a higher budget and more attention than Education and other areas that are relevant to the well being of children. In many countries Education is at the bottom of the budget with Banking and the Military getting first dibs.
What does this say about our attitude to Children and child rearing and indeed towards women who still perform the majority of child- care as well as giving birth to them? The general approach to children in terms of their value still has some ways to go.
Just because they are smaller and theoretically weaker in physical strength should not mean that they assume a lower status. Just because their ‘productivity’ does not measure up well in our current version of what productivity means (economic) does not imply that they are of lesser value. However, as we know, just like women, children do still suffer from blatant discrimination due to these skewed values.
Whilst we are still able zone out of the fact that countless children are victims of unnecessary famine, abuse and neglect we still have some miles to make up. Whilst we think that flexible work situations for mothers and adequate, paid maternity and paternity leave are luxuries or do not need to be prioritised on political agendas, we are still some distance away from providing a world experience that honours and respects children. Whilst there is still stigma about breast-feeding in public or do not value and reward the stay-at-home mother, we have some serious changes to make. So, no, we are definitely not there yet!
Maybe there is no there. Maybe that’s a good thing because it keeps us on our toes and always reaching for more. Expansion is the stuff of life, the elixir of youth. Reaching for more, for better, is what keeps us alive and well, but the fact is, that childhood is still a relatively negated, largely irrelevant dimension of life with essentially less value currently than for example, Economics, and Defence.
There will always be counter arguments that push the idea that by keeping money and National Security as paramount, we are in fact doing the right thing by everyone, including children. However, there are reams of statistics, research papers and anecdotes that prove the very opposite.
A well-balanced child who turns into a ‘healthy’ adult is one who has received not a stash of toys, or a mansion to live in. A happy child is not one who just has had a ‘good’ education (whatever that means) or a bursting to the seams Trust Fund.
Yes, children need safe comfortable housing, access to empowering education, stable adult relationships and adequate material possessions but a happy, healthy, well-balanced child is one who has received what they really need, and what all humans truly crave’; more love, more time, more one on one engagement and more pleasure or fun.
Rearing children still carries a much lower status than building a career. Having children is what ‘everybody’ does right? So no big deal. What’s all the fuss about? Whilst many parents are deeply engaged with and concerned about their kids, and work hard to do the best for them, many are still asleep at the wheel; still buying into the myth that the way to support their children is to comply with the values that are prevalent; those that are Mainstream. Transparency and awareness of where children really rank in society is still low. It’s time for us all to wake up and start to make different choices one tiny one at a time.
We are in an era where there is compelling evidence and growing impetus to make these necessary adjustments required to create greater balance. There’s a palpable push emerging catapulting us into breaking free from hidden and unconscious patriarchal agendas that still underpin much of our thinking. As the energy of the Divine Feminine increases and begins to shine Her light on to areas that need transformation, we are presented with exciting opportunities to free ourselves from unworkable, out of kilter masculine principals and replace them with a new, fairer, game- changing ethos.
What’s The Big Deal?
The parental imprint is renown for its permanent impact. What a child sees and experiences in their physical, emotional and spiritual environment sews seeds and sets patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour for life. The personal beliefs we carry, have their roots in our parents’ beliefs and opinions. As parents we literally shape the world of the individual and therefore the Collective. That’s a lot of power! We have the keys to create a new World experience for all via our parenting practices.
Knowing this means it’s crucial that we begin to ask the question:
“What are we looking for our children, from our relationship with our children, and what do they seek and need from us?
Children are people. It’s easy to forget this fact and indeed to disassociate ourselves from the truth that we were all children once. In fact, we are all still children just in bigger bodies, with increased experiences and with, paradoxically, more deeply conditioned, often unhelpful beliefs.
The dividing lines between who we were in our childhood and who we are today are in many ways a myth; a holographic projection of the illusion that there is separation between what it means to be a child and what it is to be an adult. This illusion of separation is what the old consciousness thrived on; the consciousness that is being up-graded and re-booted.
It is a sad but true fact that the majority of adults that inhabit our planet are at some level, unconsciously or consciously, attempting to recover from their childhoods.
It is also a painful reality that all of us will have some kind of wounding that needs to be healed. Each of us is born with a journey that will support our own personal evolution and if conscious of, will in turn contribute to our continual expansion and to the evolution of Global Culture. But, unfortunately and unknowingly, we are on many levels navigating institutions, ideologies and structures that are unsuited to the Human Spirit.
For example when I queue up in a department store or supermarket I am always stuck by the absurdity of the way we set ourselves (and our children) up for difficulty and distress.
The line will be long, the number of cashiers likely inadequate. This is hard enough for adults let alone children. I feel a mellow sadness when I see children in such situations and have equal compassion for harassed mothers who are usually trying to do their very best in circumstances that are frankly not child or even human friendly.
We forget that human nature is essentially curious, independent and freedom seeking yet we continue to create and to place our selves and our children in situations that just don’t match this Human Energetic Blue Print.
A toddler who has had to stand still in a long queue for 10 minutes is not misbehaving when he fidgets or sticks his fingers in the nearest magazine rack.
He is not wild, untamed or rude when he walks up to the old man three people down, stands at his feet and looks up wide eyed to ask “ How did you get so old?!”
Nor does this child have ADHD and need medicating because he runs up and down the aisle whilst he is waiting. He is just a child, a child with his innate curiosity in tact and his joy of being in a physical body alive and well.
The Power of Little People.
Children naturally have a deep and beautiful connection to ease, to flow. They are intrinsically joyous, spontaneous, curious and self-expressive. They’re naturally inclined to expand and vibrate with simplicity and innocence without hidden mentally constructed agendas. They have little or no understanding of why we’d pinch our selves off from the simple and unbridled pleasure of being alive.
There is great learning in this.
There’s a term, a condition, called adhedonia, which adults greatly suffer from. This predicament carries a serious, saturnine quality and relates to the part of us that quells and squashes our ingenuous spirit. A large percentage of adults and an increasing number of children and young people carry an excess of adhedonia. In fact if as an adult you don’t have a healthy helping of adhedonia you are likely to be classed as immature.
Our psyches are trained from the moment we first draw breath to conform to an external world that over values hard work and seriousness. Fun and pleasure have become dirty words associated with extreme and maladjusted versions of them, such as excessive alcohol consumption, drug taking and unsociable behaviour. It’s almost as though we don’t know how to switch off from this adhedonia unless we completely block it out by indulging in harmful behaviours; we are devoid of healthy balance.
We’ve created a culture that reveres adulthood but secretly hankers longingly for the innocence and simplicity of childhood. As a result we view childhood as a time of life to which parents should be dedicated to moulding the little one into being a well oiled, conforming adult; an adult who will adhere to and contribute appropriately to cultures and credos built on values that emanate from adhedonisitc external structures and ideologies.
Children are also still seen as ‘assets’. Nowadays they may not be as widely used as grease monkeys, carpet beggars, or sent down coal mines, but essentially the tribal attitudes of ensuring children are conditioned to support the Collective and community values; the desired status quo, is still alive and kicking. The majority are not fully awake to this and are silently perpetuating this model of existence in abject oblivion.
Setting New Co-ordinates.
In our loving efforts to ensure success for our children we are more often than not, still playing into the hands of this Tribal and outworn way of Being. We associate ease and success with increased economic power, with navigating the education system well and learning how to fall in line to the pervasive ethos well.
To be a “successful” parent means you have a well -behaved kid with a college Degree, a job. a mortgage and a family.
Being an approved adult or child is associated with not asking for more, for shutting up and putting up. We applaud the conformist, the highly disciplined person who does what is expected of him; he who toes the tribal line is a winner.
We find safety in predictability but secretly marvel at those who do break the mould; those who appear to rebel. The irony in this lies in the fact that all human beings are born to rebel, or rather, to be liberated. The people who stand out in history or walk among us are ones who have liberated themselves from cloying. Ill-matched conventions Those who have dared to do it differently.
Sci Fi movies and novels that depict programmable robots following instructions that usually lead to destruction are not fiction, nor are they futuristic. The autonomic aspect is alive and growing in all of us, it’s just that we are somewhat clueless to our participation.
Even the most awake amongst us tend to follow rather than lead. It’s a complex isthmus we navigate, a real conundrum, finding a way of being true to you, yet being part of something bigger. This is not just a predicament for our children; it poses real and present confusion for adults; particularly for parents. What it means is that we’re waist deep in danger of passing on the invisible and false baton of powerlessness, (the amnesia, which has made us forget we ARE the Creator of our experience), on to our children.
The symptoms of childhood DIS-ease, such as behavioural issues and even health problems are signs, markers that indicate we are blindly travelling upstream and are at cross purposes to human nature. It’s time to re-think, re-calibrate and set a new course that uses our natural proclivity to freedom and creativity so as to steer ourselves into the flow and into a New and improved Reality that has true humanistic values at its core.
The creation of this New Reality requires us to turn our normal OS on its head. We’ve been guided for so long to look outside of us to make sense of our Selves; to view the external as the god who dictates to us as to how to live and make our way through life.
For eons we have had religious ethos as our primary guidance system. We have been perfectly tutored to relinquish our own feelings and bow to The Great One in the sky; to follow the moral compass of a decree that comes from outside of us.
Whilst this may have had its efficacy, its’ value, for a certain period of history, it is quite clear that today we need to co-create a new way; a new Dreaming, a new story with up to the minute values.
When a child is born it responds automatically to its needs without requiring cues from the outside. When baby is hungry she cries to demand food, when uncomfortable either physically or emotionally she will make this known and for the first few months we embrace this, allow this, with little or no resistance.
However, as time goes on, our conditioning as to what a parent should be doing, rapidly takes over. We fall quite quickly in line with these learned responses that the time has come to ‘train’ the child, help him fit into the World.
Very soon we are orchestrating his sleep patterns, regimenting his feeding routines and unconsciously laminating him with a complicated overlay of expectations fashioned from beliefs we are not fully in touch with but often blindly believe are valuable and necessary.
This is the primary and most challenging of paradoxes we face as parents: The paradox that asks us to support the unfolding of the individual in a child, whilst helping them navigate successfully, the “World” with its many rules, rituals and expectations.
Adults, due to long-term conditioning automatically respond and are motivated by what we call real needs and desires; ones that are rational, practical and revered by the mind and ego.
Young children, in contrast, appear to operate from a place of seemingly irrational, emotional desires and responses that run counter to the pervasive, approved model of reality; a model that has been crafted from an over reverence of the mind; a model that guides us to use our level head over our foolish heart!
We have, over centuries, built up and bought into the idea that adults relate better to this real world and the world that children occupy is an unreal world, one infected with the virus of fantasy and over burgeoning imagination, which is useless or even downright dangerous.
The unparalleled worship of this perspective has solidified and almost made law, the notion that it is our job, our responsibility, as parents and educators to teach children how to properly relate and assimilate in to this real world.
The entrenchment of this be-LIE-f and the dominant science based rationale, (where we are taught to seek explanations and concrete reasons for everything), has created a language that facilitates and substantiates the version of this entity we call the Child and the period we call Childhood.
Presenting Parenting 2.0
There are currently two basic models of how people view and treat children.
1. That children are naturally good and virtuous until they are made sick by society. That structures such as education and economics need to get out of the way so that children can flourish naturally.
2. That children are naturally wild and untamed, driven by irrational, vociferous forces and hungers that must be controlled by adults so that children can become civilised, productive members of society.
The truth lies somewhere in between. Most humans are hard wired to survive physically, emotionally and psychologically against all odds. Children in particular seem to have the capacity and Will to survive terrible travesties and still fight to ensure that their own unique personalities get air.
It takes a lot of energy to resist the pervasive religious, spiritual, social and economic ‘givens’. Most of us are already somewhat lost and drowning in the bog of ill -fitting choices that were made for us or that we made for ourselves due to conditioned non- authentic responses.
Resistance is however, an old paradigm tool. It’s a process that tends to create more for us to resist. It tends to create increased problems.
We’re in a really powerful time in history where we have great opportunities and easy access to new, improved tools that are fashioned to help catalyse these necessary and humanistic changes. We are receiving guidance from all things, especially children, that are encouraging us to use our personal enlightenment and collaborative powers to co-create a more equable future; a future that is birthed from the inside to the outside; from Heart, from feeling rather than from just the intellect.
When we start a family our lives are often turned upside down. A child’s vulnerability, dependence, fragility and purity reminds us of our own, giving rise to an instinctive, protective aspect of ourselves which in turn births greater courage, improved strength and an indelible conviction to push on through the seemingly impossible. It’s in our DNA to make life better for our children. Evolution is programmed into us at birth.
It’s not by chance that there appears to be a rise in problems related to childhood. Learning difficulties, behavioural issues, ill health, Autism, obesity, violence and crime clearly indicate that we are on the brink of revolution; a revolution inspired by need, guided by love. The Collective Consciousness, which includes both your be-LIE-fs, and mine, is being called up for review and renewal.
Children truly are our teachers. There are countless young people with their hands up aching to be heard, dying to be picked and allowed to give answers to the pressing questions of our time.
They have the capability through the most powerful and game changing force on Earth; LOVE, to en-COURAGE us all to stand tall; to back our increasing, intuitive murmurings, which are calling us to co- create a New World Order that embeds increased justice, peace, harmony and community.
Instead of attempting to fix these social and personal problems with out-dated methodologies of the past, we are on the brink of deciding how we will make this positive shift and manage this empowering change. It’s exciting!
We know we need change, we know it’s here, the big question is how can we creatively construct new attitudes, new ways of living the lives we are blessed with, that are truly aligned with new improved 2.0 tools and ideologies?
This is a thrilling time to be alive. We have magnificent opportunities, expanded consciousness and services that are revolutionary. Never before in the history of Humankind have we been so well equipped to create a new ethos.
Spearheading the way forward are our children. They hold the keys, the Akash; the innate knowledge, the unremembered remembrance required to build anew. Children embody naturally, the values that are the foundation stones of this New World Experience. It is from them that we need to take our cues, our lessons and our road maps.
Are we there yet? No but we are well on our way!
Sign up to Umbilikas’ Mailing List to receive the latest updates, information about new chapters of the E-book Parenting For a New Reality, and other fun and inspirational news from Umbilika and Umbilikids.