An interesting train of thought was sparked by Rebecca Dettman’s blog (http://rebeccadettman.com) on how we teach our kids about spirituality.
It’s a good question, because outside of organised religion we don’t have that formal framework as parents, so we’re thrown back on our own experiences, thoughts and the things we’ve come to know that are authentic.
When I had my son, I hadn’t a clue about raising children. The only thing I did know was that I didn’t want him to grow up as I had – so my mum actually did me a favour in the way she brought me up, in showing me what I didn’t want to do.
As I’m a person who loves a certain amount of structure in which to play, I needed a framework, so I coined my philosophy ‘The Martian Parenting Style’.
The basic precept of this was that I would treat my son as if he’d dropped on to the earth from a different planet, and my job was to teach him the rules of the game of life on earth.
This neatly removed the need for the wars between good and evil that I’d had drummed into my catholic childhood, and also the concept of unnecessary guilt.
I taught him that while some things aren’t necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ they are more or less appropriate in certain situations. One example was swearing – I taught him that swear words are simply that – only words – and that they only have the power you give them yourself. In saying that, they’re not always welcome in the wrong context or situation so one has to be aware of that.
I taught him what I believe about metaphysics, the notion of God, we did guided meditations and visualisations together and then as he grew older and became less inclined to talk about such things, that was the time for me to step back and let him formulate his own philosophy from his own experience and beliefs.
To me this seems so much healthier than blindly accepting someone else’s teachings. By all means accept teachings from those older and wiser who’ve gone before us if they resonate, but do it only after questioning it with an open heart and mind.
Educate our children in ethics, morals and spirituality (if that is part of your experience). Do it early and consistently, and then trust them. Teach them about the stuff they won’t learn at school; relationships, family, rights and responsibilities by demonstrating your values every day, for the rest of your life. It’s the utmost in accountability and be prepared to make mistakes – we all do – but the rewards are supreme.
It’s been a busy week, with stage managing Mother and Son at the Holden Street Theatres, and my first professional after dinner speaking gig for the National History Teachers’ conference at the National Wine Centre, and fitting in work around all that too.
A busy week, but a good week. I was reminded once again of the value of good friends – not only friends who you love to spend time with, but friends of the heart who encourage you, promote your self-confidence and tell you that “you can do it.”
Friends like these are gold – I really believe they’re sent like signposts to help you on your way.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few friends like that in my life and this week one of them – the wonderful Kehau – shone like a beacon. We’ve been friends for a long time but this week it’s been like our connection has shone even brighter. So, between Kehau pointing the way and my fabulous hubby Steven supporting me and ever so gently encouraging and pushing me from the other side I’ve taken a couple of steps this week to propel the story forward. Reasonably soon I’ll be boring the ears off you about what it is, but for now I’m letting it brew and settle. More on this anon.
Have a great week!