We all realize that our children imbibe their values from us. But do we really understand the power of this mirroring process? Are we willing to take responsibility for their development on a moment-to-moment basis, understanding that this means becoming aware of how we speak, how we share, and most importantly how we relate to ourselves and others? Our children come with a definite temperament yes, but the manner in which we shape it is all in our hands. We have the choice to help them be more materialistic or more spiritual; more giving or more self-centered. But let us not have the illusion that just because we teach acceptance or adventure, our children will automatically be this way when they are teenagers or adults; let us not get swept away in some manic, egoic delusion that we are the creators of our children’s ways of being. Hardly, but on the other hand, we do have the considerable ability to plant certain seeds as opposed to others. We do not get to have the right to tell our children that they must water these seeds or tend to their fruition; this is our children’s rights. Our only responsibility is to be conscious of the seeds we do put in their potting soil. This is our spiritual obligation to them; to plant and then, to provide the freedom and space to let them be nurtured by our children’s inherent will, wisdom and destiny. There is both tremendous power in this responsibility as well as a humbling acceptance of its limitations. It is this line, of knowing what our power is but also where it ends, that defines a conscious parent.?Let us contemplate the following lines:

Our children are not born greedy

It is we who teach our children how to be greedy

By giving them diamonds instead of sticks and stones

It is we who teach our children how to fear adventure

By rewarding their successes and reprimanding their failures

It is we who teach our children how to lie to us

By getting angry with them when they tell us the truth

It is we who teach our children how to be mean and violent to others

By disregarding their true emotions and denying their right to feeling unconditionally accepted

It is we who teach our children to lose their motivation and zeal

By pressuring them to excel and ?be something?

It is we who teach our children to dishonor us

By pushing them to be who they are not

It is we who teach our children to be bullies

By dominating their spirits and silencing their voice

It is we who teach our children to be confused and overwhelmed

By giving them all things external but few tools to look internally

It is we who teach our children to be inattentive and distracted

By inundating their lives with busy activities, leaving no space for stillness

It is we who teach our children to live lives looking outward

By spending our time and energy on our own looks and acquisitions

It is we who teach our children to know shame

By shaming their spirits and judging them constantly

It is we who teach them to be anxious

By denying the celebration of our own present, eyes constantly on tomorrow

It is we who teach our children how to not like themselves

By constantly splitting their emotions into the ones we ?like? and don?t

It is we who teach our children to not trust the world

By betraying them every time we do not truly see who they are in essence

It is we who teach our children how to love or not love

By the extent to which we love or don?t love ourselves

Our children soak in our ways of being and once older, either rebel against them or inculcate them into their repertoire of responses to their inner and outer world. They get to make this choice; they have this freedom. Our only job is to provide the palette of colors from which they choose to dress their outlook on life. Let us choose the shades with care, conscious of each nuanced hue, mindful of how they will ultimately mix together to paint their inner canvass. Let us be fully conscious of how it is we provide these colors, prepared to be enlightened ourselves, to let go of contrasts that do not work so well, ready to learn new techniques of mixing and blending as we ourselves are learning to be more evolved. Our children deserve the very best effort we can put forth in building their palette. Let us do the spiritual work necessary to offer this sacred gift in the most mindful and conscious way possible.

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