Inspired Parenting, Part 3: Awakening the Spirit Within
Photo: Ruth / Flickr
In the previous two articles, we outlined the importance and the method by which parents ought to align the way they look at and view their child—to identify one's child with his or her inner essence rather than his or her outer appearance. In doing this, the child comes to view him- or herself in the same light. He comes to associate himself and his identity with the good, while the bad is left to fall by the wayside where it belongs.
Essentially, what is happening here is that the child is being inspired. The word "inspired" seems to stem from the words "in spirit"; as if to say that the inspired individual has been enlivened with a certain vigor or imbued with a certain passion. The successful parent is the one that manages to facilitate an elevate awareness in his child by which the child is motivated into action. It is important to note, however, that such inspiration is not creating a new ability in the child; rather it is awakening a pre-existing resource that was within him all along.
This is because, when acting on inspiration, a person is experiencing a higher side of himself. The experience and feeling of inspiration serves to connect who you are to who you could be. Its function is to act as the springboard by which you come to elevate the Actual You to merge with the Potential You.
What we are saying here is that there is a higher side of oneself (a "Potential You") already in existence, but its existence is in theory, in a state of potential.
This is important to know when it comes to education as well as raising kids because it means that child rearing is all about fostering growth, not about manufacturing a product.
There is a grand difference between the two.
Manufacturing a product means that the material you are working worth is completely raw and it is up to the manufacturer to determine in which direction he wants to take it and what the end goal looks like. Fostering growth means that there is a pre-existing inherent end goal or direction and what remains to be accomplished is to achieve this goal or move in this direction.
A person that treats a child as a raw piece of material upon which he can impose his will to produce a particular product is negating the true identity and the soul essence of the child. He is relating to a child that has his own individual essence and vitality as if he does not have an essence or vitality.
The results of "raising" a child in this manner is that he is likely to wind up with extremely low self-esteem and a non-existent sense of self, or he will rebel against his parents. Probably both. And for such a child to find happiness in life will be very difficult, since joy is the experience of actualizing the reality of you are; since this child was born his parents have related to him as if there is no reality of who he is, so how can he possibly actualize a reality that does not exist?
From this, we see one example of the importance of treating the child with dignity, as an independent, unique, valuable individual; not as just an extension of you, but as a real person; with gifts, qualities, and something special to contribute; as a treasure that ought to be cherished.
This is also probably the reason why we call the place we send our children to begin their schooling a "kinder-garden" and not a "kinder-factory." A gardener focuses in on the uniqueness of the seed he is dealing with, fostering its growth into the fullest version of itself. However, a factory worker imposes his will onto raw material that has no "version of itself" to fulfill, producing his own vision of what he'd like that raw material to be transformed into.
Here, we see the biblical metaphor of human being as trees in action. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to delve a little deeper into the process by which a gardener helps facilitate the growth of a seed into fruition to better understand what is necessary to successfully facilitate the growth of our children into their own fruition. Tune in next week, when we will do just that.
Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov is a sought after international speaker on Kabbalah, relationships, parenting, and life. His newly released book, Jewish By Choice: A Kabbalistic Take on Life & Judaism, recently hit #1 on Amazon's Best Seller list.