There are times that parents can become dulled to the emotional expression of their children. Especially when it seems as if they never get a break, or there is no one to talk with about what it’s like for them as the parent.
I remember several years ago walking down a store aisle to stand in line at the pharmacy. I felt my ears prick when I heard a young child cry out loudly. I looked around, to see whether I could be of assistance, when I stepped into the center aisle I saw a little girl of about 2-3 years of age crying. A man, I imagine it was her father, took ahold of her arm, leaned over her small form, and demanded in a very firm voice, "Be quiet! Stop it right now!"
The little girl shrank back yet naturally continued to cry loudly as her mother turned away from her and began to push the grocery cart, which held an even younger girl, down the aisle. The father pulled on the child's arm, nearly jerking her off her feet, as he spanked her with his other hand, again commanding, "Be quiet, and stop crying right now!" This time the little girl cried out a wobbly little, "Okay." And gave a valiant attempt to calm herself as he released her and walked on ahead. The child blindly trailed after her family.
I felt stunned and turned to stand back in the pharmacy line, a sense of nausea was heavy within me having witnessed these young parents' misplaced responses that shriveled the young child's spirit.
When our children are just being themselves, they are unconcerned with the things we parents can so often obsess over - such as how things might look to other people. Children, especially young children, tend to plunge head first into the experience of life, willing to risk it all. Deliberately I took a few deep cleansing breaths and intentionally sent pure Love and Light to embrace and sooth the young family, especially the father and daughter pair.
I sensed someone was standing in line behind me so I turned and with a bit of amazement saw the same young father standing behind the cart with his younger daughter in it. She was twisting about and crying in distress as she tried again and again to reach the pretty purple Halloween basket that was positioned at the furthest end of the cart, well away from her grasp.
I smiled and waved at the little one and noticed she paused to focus on me for a moment before reaching again and again for the basket. I caught her father's eye and asked, "How old is your daughter?"
"One year." He replied with a look of exasperation.
"She sure does like her Halloween basket doesn't she!" I acknowledged.
With a bit of a sigh and he rolled his eyes and nodded, "A bit too much at the moment."
Deliberately I turned my head slightly to one side, shifted my body a little sideways, and leaned forward to become smaller as I turned in the direction of the child. I looked into her eyes as I wondered out loud, "Now how could it be possible to like such a colorful basket too much when you are only one? How could that be?"
The little girl returned my warm eye gaze and broke into a beautiful smile. I returned her smile and wiggled my fingers say saying "Hi!" to which she wiggled her chubby little fingers back. How precious it was this sweet moment of warm, accepting connection.
I noticed the father's shoulders relax, and then he pushed the cart so his child was nearer to me. I began playing a little game of peek-a-boo with her as we passed the time standing in line. Before I moved on to engage with the pharmacist I met the father's eye gaze for a moment and said with heart-felt sincerity, "What precious children you have."
He nodded thoughtfully before turning to gaze at his little one.
Many people don't slow down long enough to consider how the way they show up in relationship affects the children around them. Despite our best intentions we can enslave our children to the emotional legacy we received from our parents, binding them to the incapacitating inheritance of our ancestors.
Does your approach include listening to your child's spirit? Would you be willing to change the way you interact with your child if it became clear that what you are doing isn't life serving?
Children pay a heavy price when we lack consciousness, yet none of us like to think of ourselves as unconscious. If anyone dares to say a word about our parenting style most of us are instantly triggered. Yet, when we begin to develop and grow our awareness, we can redesign the dynamic we share with our children and loved ones. The cost is too high not to!