teach essential skills
Collaboration and Communication

My tendency as a parent is always to make decisions
using collaboration and communication.
I bring the pros and cons of any situation to the table;
we consider them and then make the decision together.
In general I’ll abide by whatever decision my young person makes.

The individual decisions are less important than the overall skill of decision making.
It is this that I focus on.

In fact in most situations I try and look beyond the surface and ask,
what is the essential skill or lesson at play here?
For as a parent, a friend and a learning partner
this makes more sense to me.

“In every moment there exists the opportunity for Enlightenment.”

I teach martial arts and at the beginning of each class
we say a Japanese phrase that translates as
“In every moment there exists the opportunity for Enlightenment.”
The idea is to remind us that we’re not just learning
to punch and kick, but to look at the deeper lessons.

I try to live this philosophy in my parenting,
“In every moment there is the opportunity to teach and guide my child towards the deeper, essential lesson.”
It’s not my goal to have a well behaved child.
It’s my goal to give my daughter the foundation
for a successful and happy life.

Look For the Deeper Lessons

Sometimes this deeper lesson is decision making and all the concepts that go with that. The lesson could also be self-analysis, self-care, giving vs receiving, gratitude, dealing with fear, play vs work… and well the list goes on and on!

There are so many opportunities for us to share wisdom and teach skills in every moment. Skills that can bring our kids the long-term happiness we so deeply desire them to have. Yet if we tell kids what to do, how to behave and how to think, we rob ourselves and them of that gift.

Always Looking Beyond the Surface

This type of parenting isn’t easy because
it requires that I am always looking beyond the surface.
It also requires that I have thought about and know
what wisdom, skills and attitudes I want to impart to my child,
and the deepest, most lasting way I can do so.
That’s a lot of analysis, awareness and education
I have to do in order to be effective!

I have distilled the deep skills down to three essential concepts
under which all the others can fit.
This way I can be sure I’m on the right track
as long as my focus is on at least one of these.

3 Essential Parenting Concepts

1) Love
I will always work on demonstrating the purest love I can.
And none of that “you’ll thank me for this hardness later.” type of love!
Love that inspires the feeling of safety, confidence, courage and abundance.
This includes the knowledge that my love will never be withdrawn,
even for a moment, regardless of what happens, what they do or say!
Our unwavering demonstration of love
is also the foundation upon which our children develop their own self-love!

This affects how they treat themselves
and how they will end up treating others.

Also it will affect how they allow themselves to be treated.
All important qualities of happiness I would say.

In other words I focus on what will make them feel loved,
feel love for themselves and offer their love to the world
in the best way possible.

2) Confidence
I will inspire unconditional self-confidence in my child

This will result in:
The defence against peer pressure
The fuel for chasing dreams
The essence of persistence in the face of obstacles

Where does deep confidence come from?
This is a question we must each ask ourselves.

While we’re in our mother’s tummies we don’t specifically have a need for a thing called confidence. It is only when we enter the world and have to start dealing with all the forces of opposition that present themselves to us that we need it.

Self-Confidence is Our Natural State

All too often what happens is we lose the natural sense of ourselves we have as babies
and we don’t develop true confidence.
We either develop a hard shell of surface confidence to compensate
or we exist in a vulnerable, easily hurt and discouraged state.

Then, at some point we may awaken to this loss
and begin the process of rebuilding and reclaiming our natural confidence!

How wonderful it would be if our children didn’t have to lose it in the first place,
or at least if we were able to minimize its dissipation.
So in many ways building confidence means
helping our kids retain a sense of
the wonderful, spiritual, perfect beings that they are.

Constant vigilance is necessary!

It’s also about defending against the elements of society
that threaten to erode their belief in themselves.
The media, school, other adults, body image issues and more.

Constant vigilance is necessary!

3) Decision making
Every moment in life is a moment of decision in one way or another.

This really is a fundamental skill.
To have a solid grasp on it and all its manifestations is a huge benefit.
This is where concepts like priority setting,
identifying and standing by values
and evaluating cost vs. gain
come into play.

This skill of decision making something that we can continue to develop
all through our lives so I encourage her to practice it at every opportunity.

Teaching kids to make their own decisions also means
standing by them regardless of whether they make good or bad decisions.
Learning any skill is a process
and decision making is no exception.
Let them make a lot of decisions.

You Will Have to Make Less Decisions for Them

The hard part of this is that means you’ll have to make less decisions for them.
Decisions about what and when they eat,
when they sleep,
how they study,
how they manage their time
and any others you can think of.

The more you might be tempted
to make a decision for them,
the more likely it is that they need to make it themselves.

Love, Confidence and Decision Making – a Powerful Package

Each of these 3 builds upon each other. They work together harmoniously.
They can also be applied to multiple areas of life.
Relationships
Work
Play
Art
Learning
Healing

Parenting with these things as the focus makes us look beyond the surface.
Every situation ceases to be about what it is happening in the moment
and turns into something deeper.

We are laying the solid foundation for our kids
to go out into the world and be themselves,
powerfully and authentically themselves.

This is the best we can do to help them live happy and successful lives.

Teach Essential Skills

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