Wayne Dyer tells a hilarious story about how one of his daughters was remonstrating with him one day about what a bad father he was. As she pulled no punches in pointing out his shortcomings as a parent, he said to her, “But you chose me to be your father. Don’t you think you ought to take some responsibility in that? Don’t you think you ought to look at why you chose me to be your father in this lifetime?” She looked at him with pure contempt and retorted, “I must have been in a hurry!”
If you are raising a child, that anecdote might raise both a laugh and a rueful smile of recognition of those times when you seem to be out to push every possible button each other has. I say raising a child rather than if you are a parent, because statistics show that many of us today are raising children in blended families that bring together children from previous relationships into a new unit. When Margi and I married, we created a family that contained my son and another son and a daughter of Margi’s (we are so lucky in that they all get on brilliantly!).
From a spiritual point of view, I believe that every child that you are raising is a being you have an agreement with – and they with you. Before we all came down, we all chose our families and probably went into quite a lot of detail about some of the things that we wanted to be able to learn as a result of the experience.
It’s also worth noting the Native American saying that it takes an entire village to raise a child, and anthropologist Margaret Mead’s observation that many aboriginal social groups don’t recognise the state of childlessness. Above a certain age, you would be considered as connected and vital a caretaker of the young as any blood relative.
All in all, what that means is that we are truly and deeply connected to our children and they to us, and within this network of relationships we find even more opportunities to evolve. It’s the most extraordinary arena in which we can explore issues around independence and dependence, co-operation and conflict, projection and autonomy.
So the next time you find yourself caught up in a drama, either as a child with a parent or as a person raising a child, it might be worth asking the question; what might I have chosen to explore that I could only do as a result of this person being in my life?
The answer you come to will go some way to revealing the agreement you might have made!
Loads of love and good vibes
Quotes to make you think:
“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.” Pablo Casals
“Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility” Kate Douglas Wiggin
“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Sitting Bull
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” James Arthur Baldwin
Kahlil Gibran – On Children
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s 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 house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
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