We embrace the journey to parenthood with the greatest of expectations. We bring our hope for a rewarding experience, as well as our dream for unconditional love and imagine the joy that will come from nurturing another soul. However, we also bring our experiences from the past: memories of painful relationships, our own family dysfunction and past childhood and adult traumas.
The decisions we make as a parent are so momentous that we expect ourselves to be perfect. However, as we know on an intellectual level at least, that is not possible. We make mistakes and stumble and fall, often triggered by our own unresolved issues and wounds from the past. Parenting is not easy; it is not meant to be. Being responsible for the well being of a child is a considerable task. However, we don’t allow ourselves any latitude in the role of parent. Mistakes are part of this process and just as our children are growing and learning, so are we.
The decision to practice conscious parenting means we acknowledge and accept our faults and our imperfections while we seek to deepen our current level of awareness. We understand we make better choices by learning from our mistakes. Being a conscious parent means we grant the gift of forgiveness to ourselves just as we grant it to our child who has made a mistake. Awareness is the key. By looking honestly at our part in these experiences, we learn to make better choices.
Understanding that our children have their own path to follow and their own journey to make, separate from ours, is not easy for parents. It is not that we don’t play an important role; we certainly do, but we need a substantial amount of separation for this union to be healthy one. Our children have come from us but they do not belong to us. We cannot expect them to fulfill our own needs or define our entire purpose. Doing so places a burden on them they will avoid at all costs.
Our children are separate beings with their own journey; understanding this is crucial, particularly when the going gets rough. When it does, we can meet every circumstance with love, both for our child and for ourselves. Sometimes, love means saying no and setting boundaries and sometimes it means accepting circumstances we have no control over. Another time, it may mean getting down in the trenches with our child when they need us the most. Love takes many forms, but it is always available in every interaction we have with our child.
Conscious parenting is enriched by compromise and reevaluation. It is never fixed, never rigid. It is a work in progress, just like everything in our lives. Forgiveness is an integral part of conscious parenting; for us as much as for others. Forgiveness is a key component, particularly when our children disappoint or hurt us. We have to forgive ourselves for not being perfect, for making mistakes as we learn, and we have to forgive them. When we know better, we do better. Conscious parents know the value of surrender and letting go of an outcome. They understand that within every encounter, there is a divine plan and a larger purpose. When we view these obstacles in our lives as gifts, we understand they are here to help us evolve, to define who we are and what we stand for, as well as to help us heal those wounds from our past. We also have to let our child discover their own truth, their own place of authenticity. Our way is only the right way for who we are. Acceptance of who our child truly is leads to the development of solid self-esteem and unshakable confidence.
Your view about your role as a parent and your relationship with your child changes regularly. Some days, you bask in the glory of it all and on others you feel totally lost in confusion. Understand that the difficult times will pass and focus your attention on the positive ones.
Your child has chosen you and you have chosen them to help you expand on the soul level. You have been selected to help them with this journey and you have been given the precious opportunity to help your child flourish, to become an emotionally healthy being who has the confidence to contribute their talents to a world in desperate need of them. The influence you have over their lives will touch everyone who comes in contact with them and beyond. Your role of parent is a precious opportunity to impact the world as a whole and make it a better place by raising children who will make a difference; a small pebble dropped in a lake creates large ripples. We can only do our best, however our best improves with awareness, intention and commitment.
As a conscious parent, you have the honor and the privilege to witness the purity of your child’s soul, to observe the simplicity of their innocence and to bask in the depth of unlimited unconditional love. There is nothing more important than to realize than how sacred and how important your role as parent truly is and how important it is to parent consciously and wisely.
Combining the experience of raising two daughters and extensive practice in the field of school counseling with young adults and their families, Jeanmarie Wilson was inspired to write a book, Parenting from Your Soul: A Spiritual Approach to Raising Children with Compassion and Wisdom, for parents connecting practical guidelines for raising children with spiritual ideology. Parenting from Your Soul is available from Amazon, Balboa Press and Barnes & Noble.
Jeanmarie has a Masters Degree in School Counseling from Long Island University and has been a school counselor in the New York public school system for over twenty years. Jeanmarie is also the co-founder of a college consulting company, Your Journey To College. Her website and blog can be found at www.parentingfromyoursoul.com.