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Appreciating ourselves as loving parents

Added 25/03/2013

Last week I went to the screening of the film babyhood offered as a joint venture by Juno magazine and the company Born. As my work involves both parents and children it is always of interest for me to discover new interests and visions of others on the subject of parenting. On the same day Woman’s hour discussed parenting from both the perspective of a documentary launched recently on TV about children going to sleep at night or as was discussed not going to sleep. Also from the perspective of what we can learn from other cultures that are more traditional and are small tribal communities. It appears we are questioning parenting as a society; it appears we are struggling to find answers to difficult questions, such as why has violence amongst teenagers increased, why are more children experiencing depression and many more similar difficult questions.

My question is what are we really questioning? Yes of course it is always helpful to question everything... is this assumption I made about this true? Why doesn’t it bring a peaceful solution if it is true? This questioning has to be of assistance. To not take our assumptions as the truth can be very helpful. How often do we inquire at a deeper level of what is it I am truly questioning? By this I mean it looks like there is a general questioning of parenting in our society at this time, but where am I in this? If I am always looking outwards in general terms as to what is wrong with everyone else that stops me living in a loving world. Is this simply a distraction so as I don’t have to ask this question to myself? So what if we each ask these questions of ourselves, do I feel inadequate as a parent? Do I doubt my ability as a loving parent?  Also the other side of the coin, how do I believe I was parented? Is it fact we are questioning our self by this intense interest in how the nation parents? Do we not believe we are capable of being loving parents? Are we continually doubting ourselves and then projecting this out on to others?

Yes of course many people on this earth do not have the good fortune to be able to ask such questions, many people are immersed in the need to survive, the need to survive violence in the home, the need to survive poverty. And yet often our projections of wanting to change others behaviour are onto those who are simply surviving. So how can I be of assistance to myself, family and others? The only way I know of, is to bring the questions back to myself. To take the opportunity to dive deeper and deeper with each question, to discover what are true answers within my heart. Is it really possible that I am not capable of loving my children? Is it really possible that I am not loved by my parents? Is this not what we are yearning to know that we are capable of loving others and that we are loved and loveable? I have discovered this is the bottom layer for most people. I have the blessing to of met with many parents over the years working as a herbalist and practitioner and no matter what symptom, diagnosis or inquiry they have brought for us to explore, this is always what they truly want to know and of course this includes myself as well.

This is where the questioning directs us to the nectar of our hearts. When we can recognise this is our shared interest to know we are loved and capable of loving others, then we can stop for a moment and really allow this to be of value in our lives. To be honest with ourselves that yes sometimes we feel inadequate as parents, as daughters, as sons, yes sometimes we doubt our self, sometimes we believe we are unlovable. What if we were to question these beliefs? How could it be possible if we all want and yearn for the same, that there be so much confusion in the world of parenting? Maybe, because we start from a place of believing we are not good enough, not capable, there are millions of varieties of these thoughts! Then as we become busy gathering evidence to prove these thoughts to be true, we feel more and more, guilty about not being a good enough parent.

What if we were mistaken with the original thought of self doubt, and  that it is possible to start the parenting journey from the awareness that we are the perfect parents for our children, that we have a shared interest of both parent and child yearning to know they are loved and capable of loving others. That yes, we may have resistances, to knowing this. We could call them resistances to love. Starting from this belief we are more likely to ask love to show us how to respond to our children, we are more likely to shed the guilt of parenting by the thought we are seeking to know of love. Each moment of self doubt, each hesitation of how to respond becomes an opportunity to stop and ask our hearts how to respond. What would love do right now? What would be the most loving way, show me how to respond with love. This is starting from a knowing that we want loving relationships and so do our children, as of course so does everyone. We may have been and sometimes still are confused as to what is love and yet we are willing to discover, to allow love to show us. Starting parenting with the recognition of a shared interest we could say we are teaching our self and our children that we are loveable and capable of loving others.

What I am speaking of has nothing to do with what we call behaviour; it has everything to do with who we are. By this I mean I not advocating abusive behaviour under the heading of I wanted to love my child. It is an awareness of the fact that love is always the answer, it is the willingness to be honest with ourselves, and it is allowing ourselves to be undefended. All of this does sound very simple, I am also very aware that it may not always be easy. I do know that to directly experience the truth within our heart is pure nectar. Let us together question whether it is of assistance to any of us to seek to change others. Let us together recognise shared interests and that we do have the ability to love and be loved. To live this, in our relationships we can open our hearts to love and ask to be shown how to love our children. I trust that the answers are within our hearts which share the same source of the hearts of our children, that being love. I trust that each of us has everything within us to meet every encounter. That everything being Love. As we open our hearts to our self , how could this not include everyone?

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