Parenthood! Can you ever be prepared for it? I don't think so and the truth is, although there are no perfect parents, some parents are better than others. Ouch, I know that stings but in order for us to be effective parents we have to grow so much ourselves.
Parents make families in more ways than one; not only do they biologically produce the offspring that some people feel makes a "family" (that is another post), but they also set the tone for the household and how children will learn and grow.
Parenthood allows us to see ourselves and prepare our children to be better people than we are. I am often told that in American Indian culture the totem pole represents many generations standing one on top of the other, giving reverence to the idea that we are a reflection of the parenting that came before us.
Conscious parenting is the mindful approach that I recommend for parenting over the duration of a lifetime. Before I became a parent, I worked with children as a therapist but was unaware of the personal commitment of parenting despite helping to raise children within my extended family system. I was so lost despite the many years of training, internships and volunteer activities. We went through childhood right, how hard can it be?
If we are authentic parents marching to the beat of our internal drum, parenting can be really difficult. It is difficult to drown out the sounds of someone else's value's and emotions and decide what is really right for you.
To be a conscious parent, we look at the choice we make daily and realize their impact upon our children and by extension our community.
To be a conscious parent, we must make a little extra time to listen and speak with our children daily to find out what is happening in their internal world.
To be a conscious parent we must parent with the end in mind; we must have a vision for our children about where we want them to go yet allow them the flexibility to choose their own path while still enforcing the law of self-sufficiency with them. We want them to be make meaningful contributions to our culture and community not take from it.
So yes, this task of parenting is much harder than we know yet our impact is greater than we realize.