Developing as a parent requires developing as a person
In conversing with a friend afternoon
I realized that much of my self-development over the past 20 years
has come from my determination to be the
best father possible to my daughter.
What kind of person do I want my kid to be?
One of the methods I used to create my parenting philosophy
was to think about the kind of skills and attitudes
that I wanted to pass on to my daughter.
I spent time thinking about what attributes are
present in successful and happy people.
Then I would think about how to
impart those attributes to my child.
Traditional parenting focuses on behavior not personal development
This is a very different outlook than the traditional parenting concept of
creating respectful children who behave well
and listen to their parents.
Honor yourself young padawan
For example one of the main things I have always
encouraged my daughter to do
is to honour herself.
To listen deeply to her feelings,
to trust them and follow them.
I realized that in order to truly inspire her
to follow her own heart
I have to be willing to do the same.
For if she witnesses me honouring myself consistently
she will pick up on that behavior
and adopt it as her own.
Children learn about life from how we live more than anything we say
Kids certainly learn a lot about how the world works
from their parents behaviour.
They learn from how we treat them,
they learn from how we treat ourselves
and how we treat others.
I had to work at being consistent with my values and behaviour
Knowing that she was learning about life
from how I actually existed in the world
meant I also had to have a strong value around
other people honouring themselves.
Doing this requires me to not hold on to
any particular agenda too tightly.
I must be willing to accept it when
other people honour themselves
even when their choices and behavior are different
from what I would want them to do.
Consistency requires enthusiasm
Actually it’s not enough for me to just accept it when other people honor themselves, it has to be my preference. I prefer to be inconvenience knowing that someone else is being true to themselves.
Honoring self is a solid foundation in my kid’s life
My daughter has grown up with me treating her this way
so she knows that I mean it
when I tell her to honor herself.
This has resulted in her truly being able to
know how she feels and
have the courage to state her needs when necessary.
I do my best to share this feeling of validation and acceptance with everyone
Another benefit of this is that when I interact with other people
they are usually also able to feel my sincere desire
for them to honor themselves.
This helps them to feel
accepted and validated by me.
Feeling accepted and validated is such a deep need in us
It touches something in our core.
Very few people are given unconditional acceptance in their childhood.
Our acceptance is largely based upon our behavior.
It’s based on pleasing other people and
meeting their expectations of us.
Therefore we often grow up
not really knowing that we are
perfectly lovable and worthy.
I wanted my daughter to feel unconditionally worthy
My journey as a parent has led me to consistently give this feeling to my daughter.
In order to do this I have to also give this feeling to myself.
The outgrowth of this is that I naturally offer this feeling of acceptance to other people in my life.
Conscious parenting is truly a transformative practice.