For many years now my extended family has been without little ones. No pink-cheeked babies to kiss; no chocolate covered toddlers to chase after. I am not only the youngest in my extended family, but I am most definitely the “oops” baby, being born eight years after my brother. My cousins’ children are finally ushering in the next generation of Viking descendants (ok, maybe that’s a stretch) and it reminded me of how I felt before my daughters were born.
As I was very pregnant with my first daughter I remember a girlfriend asking me if I was afraid of experiencing labor pains. My response caught her off guard. I told her that the labor pains should only last a few hours, but the reality of being responsible for another human being for the rest of my life was REALLY scary. She laughed, having never thought about giving birth in light of my response.
What I didn’t share with her and have only shared with a few people, is that to me, I was not only responsible for the health and well being of a child, but more importantly I was entrusted with the nurturing of a soul. Although I never discussed it with anyone, I truly believed (and still do) that each one of my children chose me to be their mother. I believe this applies for their father as well, but for this discussion, I will address my perspective on the topic.
Everyone always jokes on how children don’t come with an instruction manual. They don’t, but in a way you were collecting notes on “how to parent” from your earliest memories. Our parents were our example. In all of their loving or unloving disfunctionality they taught us how to love, live, fear, fight, compete and sometimes even hate. And this cycle is usually a repeat of what their parents taught them. I believe that we, as parents, are only as good or bad at parenting as our parents were. Many of us hold our parents accountable for how we turned out as adults, when in reality, they were only doing the best they could with what they were taught. The escape from the hamster wheel then would be to educate yourself on the parenting methods you didn’t like and try to break the cycle. That’s not a bad strategy for the raising of a child.
But if you believe as I do that we are spirit having a human experience, how do you raise the child and nurture the soul? I’m a reader. Every time I encountered a parenting dilemma I was running off to the book store or library looking for some guidance from one older and wiser than I. Books about raising your “spirited child” did not remotely pertain to raising your “spiritual child.” I finally gave up and realized that what I was looking for in books I was only going to find through prayer and connection. I needed to be a parent who looks at her child as a soul first and a person second. This is not easy to do when your mouthy teenager is being rebellious and disrespectful. “Come from a place of love, come from a place of love….” I would repeat silently to myself. Granted, sometimes my mouth shot off before I could connect with her “soul,” but I’m not claiming to be perfect.
The bottom line is that these souls were entrusted to me so I could teach, nurture and birth them into a deeper awareness of the God Spark inside them. And in turn, they chose me so they could teach and nurture my spirit into a greater awareness of our Oneness.
So I challenge all of you raising little ones right now (Grandmas and Grandpas too )to lovingly look past their rosy cheeks and chocolate kisses. Look beyond the temper tantrums and the will-full “no’s.” Look into the eyes of your child and connect with their soul. Ask yourself why they chose you and understand that you have so much to learn from them.
Maya Angelou once asked, “Does your face light up when your child walks into the room?” This is the beautiful, natural, spiritual reaction when you connect with the soul of your child.
The beautiful artwork above is by Katie M. Berggren. Please visit her website at www.kmberggren.com to purchase her amazing artwork!