I had a recent discussion with someone about bringing up a child in today’s world, and when I got off the phone I took a long, deep breath. it’s an ongoing discussion, and anyone raising a child knows about all the advice and opinions coming from books, magazine articles, blogs, family, and friends, and the confusion at times when needing an answer and finding contradictions.
I feel though that a few things haven’t changed: the ease of teaching at that early fun age by just walking and talking and playing rather than trying to get a teenager’s attention later on; the loneliness of making tough decisions, and the strength that follows; the importance of honing one’s intuition and common sense; guilt that creeps into the mind at all hours of the day and night (It serves no purpose, and it drains one’s energy); the importance of forgiving and then forgetting; communicating as much as possible; laughing often; knowing when to let go; and appreciating the gift of a precious life to care for and to love.
Then I thought again about writing more, and said, no, no, no, it’s too broad a subject having too many opinions. So, instead I’ll generalize and take the easy way and say: parenting in today’s world is having to give all you’ve got and expecting nothing much in return – for a while. It’s about knowing that if you do your very best, you’ll end up smiling often. It’s about building a strong foundation of trust in oneself, one’s child, and the Universe. It’s about developing the power of intuition. It’s about understanding that every child is different and nothing is written in stone, and no one knows a child better than a loving parent/caregiver. It’s about not comparing. It’s about using lots of common sense. It’s about unconditional love, understanding and compassion. It’s about letting go at the right time. It’s about hopefully staying two steps ahead until those parenting skills (which are mostly learned “on the job” – interesting because it’s such an important job) kick in. It’s about remembering the words of the older generation who keep repeating them when they sense you’re about to fall apart: “I know it seems like the longest journey you’ve ever been on, but trust me, it all goes by so fast.” Difficult to imagine, but true; I know from experience that it passes in a flash. Enjoy the ride, and every so often smile when reading the words of Khalil Gibran.
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life 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 strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.”
* * * * * * *
And the following are Krishnamurti’s words taken from an address he had given in 1927 and printed in the book The Spiritual Tourist: A Personal Odyssey Through the Outer Reaches of Belief by Mick Brown (“This book starts out excellently and then gets better.” Robert M. Pirsig, Author of ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE):
“What are you seeking . . . you who strive and struggle and ache eternally with unsatisfied longings? Is it money? Is it possessions? Is it fame? Is it physical comfort? Is it love? Is it spiritual safety? . . . Yes indeed, you think it is one of these things. But I tell you it is not. What you are seeking for ceaselessly, day and night, is Happiness . . . The thing you seek is ever at your hand. Be Happy, and then whatever you do will be worthwhile . . . Do that which makes you happy to do, and you will do right.”
Today the sun is out in full force and I hear people laughing as they walk pass my window. It looks like a beautiful day; let’s be happy and enjoy.