A human being is pretty much formed and programmed in his or her concepts about himself or herself and the surrounding world by the age of eight. Most of the work, which is done today by psychologists and psychiatrists, is to solve the problems and fill the gaps left by the experiences of those earlier years. Wouldn’t it be better to pay more attention to how we bring up our children so that they can be stronger, more able, happier, more in harmony with themselves and their environment? The future of the world depends on our children. The quality of our children and their ability to create a better world depends on us, but not in the way most may think. Let us consider here how we can help our children and ourselves to find harmony, health and happiness.
SEEDS DO NOT LEARN TO GROW
Seeds grow into beautiful plants and huge almost immortal trees with no education or training whatsoever. What they are to become and how they are to become that, are already printed in their consciousness and chromosomes. The same is true for all the animals, plants and insects upon the earth. Is man the only exception? Are we so unintelligent that we cannot understand what we must become and how we must become that? Are we so far behind the plants and animals in this matter? Or have we destroyed this contact with our inner consciousness, our inner voice that could guide us on our way?
Adults in their well meaning way, with an exaggerated concern for their children, and an underestimation of the divine potential which lies within those small beings, inadvertently destroy that small inner voice, as they try to mould their children into what they believe their child should become. This is also true of the educational system as a whole. Thus the question, concerning how we can help our children, becomes, more accurately, how can we help ourselves out of our mistaken concepts and anxiety about the future and lack of confidence in ourselves, our children and mankind so as not to become obstacles to the child’s natural development?
Our emphasis should not be so much on how we can teach but on how we can learn and grow maturer emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Then the “real parent”, the divine within each child, will take over for us and for our children. We cannot help our children find the voice within them if we have not found our own. We cannot help our children to be healthy if we have not created health for ourselves. We cannot help them have self-confidence unless we ourselves have it. Their self-respect depends on our self-respect, their inner peace on ours, and their self-mastery on our self-mastery. Learning through example is much more effective for children than learning through words. When the person who gives advice is not an example of those words, then not only do those words have no power, but they create a feeling of resentment and rejection towards the hypocrisy which is so obvious. All children are idealists. They expect there to be a consistency between thoughts, words and actions. When there is not, they feel insecure, they do not know what to believe. Consistency gives a child a feeling of security and respect.
WHAT ARE THEIR NEEDS?
This list of children’s needs will by no means be complete. These are some of the obvious needs that come to mind at this moment. When I asked a small group of children to think about the basic needs of children, one child shocked me with the most simple answers. She said, «The first need of children is PARENTS». How simple, how obvious, and yet today how fragile is that assurance that the child will have the same two parents from its birth until adulthood. «The second need of children», she said, «is to have a good relationship with your parents». This 11 year-old child was telling me what took so many psychologists so many years to understand and verify.
In working with adults with various emotional problems, most difficulties seem to originate from the lack of affirmation of love and acceptance during their childhood. When this base of love and acceptance is missing, then we have lot of work to do in our adult life in order to regain that self-love and self-acceptance. When this base of love is there as a child, then we can proceed on to other needs and activities. When it is not there, then whatever we will do in our lives will have as a major motive, proving our ability and our self-worth.