A man recently shared a childhood experience with me, wherein while his mother was making his birthday cake one year, he asked his mom “What are you doing?” His mom responded by saying “I am making YOUR birthday cake.” When it came time at the party to cut and share the cake with everyone, the boy threw a fit. He said to his mom “You told me it was MY cake”.
That boy, now a man, remembered that, at that time, nothing in him wanted to share that cake with everyone, yet he was told that he “needed to share.” Could it be that a contradiction then started within that child? I’m told to share, but I don’t want to share. Or otherwise stated “I’m a good boy, if I share. I’m a bad boy if I don’t.” And sometimes punishment ensues until that child does what the parent wants them to do — share, like good boys do. Now, if that child is punished for not being “a good boy,” can that child believe anything other than the fact that he must not be good?
Therefore at that moment, if you can see it, that boy then starts a pattern of directed “hate” toward others (brothers, cousins, friends), because they are being given something that he believes belongs to him (“his cake”).
This is how Guy Finley (a truth teacher), put it so eloquently: “The child then feels that he must be broken, because everyone seems to agree what a good person is, and nothing in me wants to do that (share), so I’m not good. I’m broken and now I must pretend to be good. Not because I want to do it, but if I don’t pretend to be “good,” if I don’t adopt an appearance to push away the storm, then I’m going to be washed away with it, and I’ll be bad for the rest of my life, and I’ll never get cake again. I’ll never be praised. I’ll never receive an award. Everything about my life will be because I’m a bad person, a broken person, and even though I don’t feel it, I’m going to act it out.”
Wow, I can see my whole life in that. Why? Because we are all a product of borrowed, hand-me-down parts, from our parents, society, grandparents, from all the way back. Our parents and grandparents, etc., had no idea that they were carrying and bringing that “old” borrowed stuff with them and placing it upon the “now” believing the “old” to be “new.”
Here are a few things I thought to “share” that might be of help:
- The best way to lead is always by example. You can’t expect a child to do something that you first don’t uphold yourself.
- Real/True Love is “unconditional.” Therefore, any action that we agree to take based on what our mind is saying “needs to be changed in our child”, must be dismissed in that moment because it comes from the past. The past is where the ideas of what is “good” and what is “bad” come from.
- The present moment is the only place where “new” answers exist. Those answers come to us only after we dismiss, sacrifice, that “old” instantaneous voice that pushes us with a response in the moment. We have to wait in the moment for the past to pass, literally. And a lot of the time, that is not necessarily easy to do because it requires a bit of suffering on our part.
- We all have an internal compass that automatically knows, without thinking, what is right and what is wrong. We know, without thinking, that harming another isn’t right. We know, without thinking, that taking something from another isn’t right. But that internal compass has to be allowed to awaken inside of us in its own time. Otherwise, pretense will always be the result, and pretense is pain. We have to allow our children to “miss the mark” time and time again and learn for themselves in the only way they can – through experience.
In all of this, please know that I am not saying that certain recognized dangerous behaviors don’t need addressing.
If we are totally honest with ourselves, the most difficult part of allowing a child the time they need to learn these things for themselves, is that we, as parents, do not want to be seen and judged by others for having a child that “doesn’t share,” or “takes things from others when playing,” etc.
There is always a cost in doing the right thing. That cost is the sacrifice of these precious images we have of ourselves that don’t want to be seen in a negative way by others.
Dare to be the warrior parent that lets go of those old parts for the sake of your child, for yourself, and for the sake of Love itself.
Terri Knuth (a/k/a Terri Poppins) started an on-call nanny business in 2009 after a 31-year career as a paralegal because she felt a certain calling to work with children. She has cared for well over 100 families with children of all ages, including doing respite care for special needs children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, and attending classes at the Life of Learning Foundation, a center for self-study. You can find more information on her site: www.terri-poppins.com.
Image courtesy of Kelly Sikkema.