Each one of us is a story. A story which is packed with words, action and a whole lot of drama. These emerge into rhythms. These rhythms create themes. These themes emboss themselves into patterns. Despite what we all would like to believe about our adult selves and our great free will. Most of us, without realising, are unconsciously dictated by two or three emotional patterns. Most of what we do. How we think, process, handle failure, cope with grief, handle trauma in our lives. All of this is unconsciously being hijacked by two or three basic emotional patterns.
Where do these patterns come from? Well, they originate, mutate, transform, from the shortest and most profound period of our lives. Our childhoods. Everything. Everything emerges from here. How we learn. How we learn to not learn. Learn to envy, anger, please, seek approval, run towards, or run away. Believe in God or not. The self. The other. Trust. Abandon. Betray. All of this first emerges in childhood.
“Mummy Daddy what is a racist person”? “Mummy daddy who is gay?” “Daddy is God a woman?” “Mummy daddy what is this thing they call hell?” “And suicide what is that?” “Why do people divorce?”
Life’s essential questions first get asked and answered in childhood. Our children pay attention not so much to what our children can verbally tell them. So, we can package the perfect answer. They are barely paying attention to that. Instead, they are absorbing on a deep level. How it is that we embody and live these answers.
So, I invite you the parent not only to appreciate with great humility the indubitable power you have to lay that first layer of cement. In your child’s minds. But also ask yourself. Are you living in a manger that’s mindful and conscience? Transforming paradigms. Or, are you stagnate, regurgitating patterns of the past? Simply because that is the way it is done.
Each one of us here is a story. Despite our surface differences. Taller. Thinner. More successful. More achieving. More pretty. Thinner. Did I say that again? Obvious an issue…
We all hold at our core. The irrefutable influence. The thunderous power of mummy and daddy.
This parent calls me the other day and says to me “my child, 7 months old, is not connecting to me. There must be something wrong. Can you fix him?”
As I often do, and this is quite non-traditional. I visit the homes of my clients. What I can see within moments, it would take years to unfold in an office. If I see that the client is committed enough and in desperate need enough I will make that visit to the home. So I happened to chance upon feeding time. “It could not be that a 7 month old would not connect to its mother” I thought to myself unless of cause there is something drastically wrong with it. I began to observe. And what she said was true. This baby. Here was the mother and here was the baby. The baby refused to look at its mother. Disengaged. Disinterested. Disconnected. This was truly happening. I was about to judge, label and diagnose the child as obviously having some spectrum disorder. But then the funnest thing began to happen. I began to engage with it (the child). I began to laugh with it and make funny faces. Play with it. The baby began to respond with me. How could that be? Its eyes followed every movement. It began giggling back at me. The perfect mirror. So now what?
I began to delve into the mother’s history. Within moments the patterns became clear. The mother herself the victim of a neglectful childhood has been an alcoholic for the past 7 years. In and out of intermittent stupers. Now the baby could not have known that. Could not have intellectualised that the mother is in and out of intellectual stupers. Could it? But yet, barely a year old. Just at 7 months, already, just as sophisticated, had morphed itself to reacted to a less than good enough environment.
Already, wizened to the use of avoidance. As a means of coping with anxiety. But parents will indignantly, because no one is more righteous than us parents, will tell me “but my child is naturally avoidant!” or “my child is painfully shy” or “it has been aggressive since day 2”. “I surely did not create that”. “ I did not create that pouting teenager or this sulking adolescent who is forever rebellious. I could not have created that”.
Because they are longing to be realised from judgement. This is a hard job indeed. What I say to parents is “of cause you did not create that, but there is no such thing as a pure Sally, or a pure John or a pure Mary”. There is no such thing. If you are looking to label your child as such. You are falling under an illusion.
From the moment of conception. Begins a dance. A dance of co-creation. Where both parent and child are. Inextricably linked. Influencing each other. Moment after moment. So yes “you did not create your child’s temperament” if you know what that is on a pure level. But where your power comes in. Is in how you react to that temperament. It is in here in your reaction. In your energetic vibe. In the way you enter the dance. That you hold the power and where you need to take the responsibility.