Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 56: Who Is My Child? | Principled Parenting

In my previous blog I explained how a parent’s responsibility starts with self first.

This seems paradoxical, how can my responsibility towards my child start with a responsibility towards myself?

I came across a piece of Osho writing which I find pertinent to this point:

Nobody has been exploited so much as children -- neither the proletariat nor women, nobody has been exploited so much and so deeply and so destructively as the innocent children. Because they are helpless and dependent they have to learn whatsoever you teach them. They have to imbibe all the falsehoods that you go on forcing upon them. It is a question of survival for them -- they cannot survive without you. It is a question of life and death! They have to be Christians, Hindus, they have to be Mohammedans, they have to be Jainas, they have to be Buddhists, they have to be communists. Whatsoever you are interested in putting into their minds, you go on putting it in. Instead of making them more alert, more aware, more alive, more reflective, instead of making them more mirrorlike, pure, you make them full of ideas...layers and layers of dust. And then it becomes impossible for them to see that which is. They start seeing that which is not and they stop seeing that which is.

We cannot know, see or assess what is best for a child, if we are coming from a box of ideas. These ideas come from memories of our life, based on experiences we’ve collected. When we want to direct or guide a child, we can only do so from within the limited bounds of the box – as if the ideas in the box are the only options available, and whether they are actually best or not for the child becomes irrelevant – what is relevant is that the ideas and opinions we’ve gathered through life are put to good use.

This is obviously not the best way to go about raising a child.


Here we come to the dimension of responsibility towards your child that is not directly related to you and where it comes to being all about the child. The child is a person on his own. He or she is a life-form, which came through you, but is not owned by you. Every child has his or her own unique expression, and that expression will differ from your own and other members of the family. Your child as a life-form happened to have come through within your family-setting, but could have sprouted up anywhere else just the same. There should be no entitlement involved in raising children; where you believe you have the right to raise your child ‘this and that way’ because ‘he/she is MY child and I can do with MY children whatever I want’. Children are not supposed to be possessions, they are gifts. They are gifts with an immense amount of responsibility attached to them. Because here we have a life-form, that like Osho says – is completely helpless and dependent – and here we have you, the parent, as an able-bodied individual – that can stand in as a point of support where the child cannot for itself. And everything you do, everything you say will impact the child. Better still, the child counts on it that you know what you’re doing, and that you’re looking after its best interest. It gives you its trust completely.

Most of us have our own experiences with our parents where we are less than happy with the way they treated us, with ways in which they imposed their ideas, their way of doing things, their opinions and their values. Some we rejected forcefully, others we are not even aware we are living. We’ve all seen and realised the extent to which our own parents influenced us and influenced our life’s path. Some we are grateful for, others we’d like to erase from our minds.

So: Who Am I in relationship to my Child? – is that of Self-Support to ensure that one is working on breaking down the walls of self-limitation to open up the way to self’s utmost potential.
Who Is My Child in relationship to Me? – is that of a life-form here to express itself, to develop itself and grow into its utmost potential.

Which then brings us back to the role of the Parent, where Who I Am in relationship to my Child is that of support, direction and guidance – as self has walked and is busy walking the path to utmost potential and is aware of the stumbling blocks, the temptations, the falls, the consequences and what it takes to correct ones misalignments.

Within this, an interesting thing takes place, because as you commit yourself to the development of another to its utmost potential, new dimensions and aspects of yourself and your own self-expression open, where the limits of your potential will shift in the most surprising moments and ways.

So realising that having and raising a child within this principle, the principle of Life, is a task of utmost responsibility – it is best to develop and work on one’s own potential as much as one is able to before taking on this task; as it will make it easier to develop your child’s potential rather than its limitation.

Currently when we look at family and having children, we go by sheer ‘feeling’ to decide when we want to have children. We get a feeling that we want a baby, we get oozie at the idea of having a family, pictures and imaginations start popping in our heads, they seem so nice – and then one day you say the words: I want to have a baby! If you’re lucky, the adults looking at starting a family will first consider their financial stability before entertaining the reality of having a family – but many will allow the feeling and desire for a family/baby to overpower common sense practicality and bring into this world a child that is necessarily compromised.

Raising a child being the responsibility of holding Life in your hand, to grow it, to develop op it without rigidly moulding it, without breaking it – is a massive task in itself. To lay this responsibility unto yourself whilst not being in a financially stable position makes it that much more massive, if not impossible. It is easy to get carried away by feelings, pictures and imaginations of what it would be like to have a child. But realise that there, you are looking at your own ambitions, your own interest of how you want things to be – and are not actually taking into consideration the life of the future child, who will suffer the consequences.

I really want to stress this point because, parenting is the most important job in the world and it’s an all-or-nothing situation. Once you are a parent, that’s is: no take backs – and it’s a responsibility you will have to live with for the rest of your life. It can be fun and rewarding and it can also send you straight down to hell – if you have the choice, prepare yourself in the best way you can to make sure that you are up to the task.

So really, a parent’s responsibility towards the child doesn’t start with self, but starts with self before there is even an actual child.

To be continued

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