This is a hard one I know. In my early years of parenting I was all about their protection. That was my job surely?
I was the mother who got all riled up if there was any morsel of injustice or potential danger in the room. I was the mother who was compelled to fight my corner whether it was in the classroom with the teacher, in the doctors office, with the media, or even with my spouse. I was passionate. I was I thought, brimming with full bodied love for my precious ones.
And then one day I had an epiphany. It was a little biblical; a bolt of en-lightening!
In truth, this epiphany was a slow burn that permeated my consciousness as I began to understand human experience in terms of energy and emotions. I began to realise that my version of protection meant pre-empting and preventing which are essentially rooted in the fear of something that hasn’t quite happened yet.
When you start to see life as an energetic experienced fuelled or drained by your feelings you begin to see how certain emotions are helpful and others not so much. Looking after your kids involves naviagating this narrow isthmus of love and fear. Slip into fear and you’re in danger of being swept up by a current that will likely create more drama. Hold on to trust and love and you build cloaking device that nothing can penetrate.
When you vibrate with fear, anger or injustice you are literally at the opposite end of the spectrum to love; it’s just physics. Love and fear cannot be good bedfellows. They tug and pull you apart. They make you crazy by filling your mind with opposing thoughts, infecting your heart with bits of bullshit bacteria, which have the potential to make you sick, literally make you feel nauseous.
This doesn’t bode well for your kids because what they really need from you is certainty of spirit; faith that life will always, under any and all conditions, work well for all of you. What they need from you is unconditional love because it’s this form of love that immunises them from all the dangers you could ever perceive, all the nasties you may imagine they might receive.
Love is all we need is not an empty cliche. It is for us humans, who unfortunately love to complicate life, the definitive, the ‘All roads lead to Rome’ answer.
Holding this space consistently with your kids is no easy feat. The World perpetually seems to bang on the door telling you it’s not safe to eliminate fear from your parenting practice. Fear is a necessary part of survival surely? It keeps us on our toes, helps us pre-empt potential disaster and ensures we protect our precious children. Surely that is our job?
It is but how we do this job is crucial. Using fear as a prime motivator, as a teacher, as a guide will likely bring more of those deeply feared monsters out from under the bed.
It’s been a struggle or shall I say I’ve personally had to be perpetually vigilant to fear for all of my mothering years and I’m still having to bring mindfullness and awareness to the table to this very day.
My 19 year old son is in the process of deciding a career path. He’s 19 but he is still my baby. I still feel sometimes even more poignantly, the desire to keep him safe and well.
It looks like he wants to be a Paramedic. In my heart I know he is perfect for the job. He’s compassionate, stable and physically skilled. He knows what danger is yet has over the course of his short life, managed to balance his love for adventure and living slightly on the edge of all things physical, with a a healthy respect and reverence for life itself.
When I asked him why Paramedics he said:
“I just want to know what to do when something unfortunate happens. I want to help people and I want a job that is different every day.”
You can’t get simpler or more honest than that. Oftentimes our authenticity is that simple and needs no extra justificaiton. With our predisposition to fear we can complicate our children’s truth
I actually had a poignant dream pointing to this very scenario when my boy was about 14. In the dream he was a Paramedic. At the time I felt it was a perfect match for his energy. From the very day he was born my son literally had angel wings. He carried a buddha-like energy; always happy in a light, quiet, content way that brought peace and soothing to everyone in the household. One of his teachers misguidedly accused him of being too kind and too helpful for his own good. I saw this as his ulitmate strength; his superpower. In more recent years as he has grown more into the beauty of his nascent adulthood. I often literally see him with these giant ‘wings’ attached to his back.
I know all of us mammas see our kids as perfect, as angels in some way and they are. Each one of them perfect for this incarnation, perfectly placed to be who they be no matter what, if we and our fear, can get out of the way.
Truth be told, for a moment there when he expressed his desire to be a Paramedic I went straight into fear. Yes, its a noble vocation but it comes with a side serve of ugly. It comes with dealing with death and injury, drugs and violence, pain and suffering. Add to that recent statistics linking Paramedics to increased rates of PSTD and even suicide and you have a perfect recipe for a mother in all good faith, to go into fear, to take the knee jerk reaction and attempt to guide a precious one away from apparent danger and difficulty.
His grandmother, my mother, on hearing his potential plan went straight to this well trodden tack of fear. It’s only natural; its instinct, it pretends to be love but it’s fear, it’s not love, its not protection and it’s not unconditional care. I had to hold my more powerful place of love, of trust, of faith in my son’s perspective even more mindfully amongst the so called ‘common sense’ reaction of those in the external.
Why? Because love is ironically the greatest protector of all. Holding a vibration of love and support for your little ones moves mountains and creates that coveted cloak of safety so much more effectively than trying to hold a door (made flimsy by fear), shut against imagined monsters that haven’t actually materialsed yet. And.. if they do materialise know that the most potent salve is yet again (if boringly) love once again.
Build your little pig a house made of bricks of unconditional love and those wolves will likely just walk the other way.