This is not Reya’s first Christmas, but it is the first Christmas that she has some awareness of. She refers to all the Christmas decorations in store fronts as “chrissy-mas mess” and is so delighted by it all. She knows about snow, and snowmen, and christmas trees. She hasn’t quite got to grips with Santa Claus, and this is something I’ve been thinking about for some time now. How do I feel about this? What the purpose in perpetuating this fantasy for my child? Is this lie worth it? What do my children gain from this?
In this video I talk a little bit about some of the principles and values that really guide my husband and I in how we raise Reya.
Thank you so much for watching!
Ever since Reya turned one in January, I had been meaning to share my thoughts and experiences of one year of motherhood. Since Mother’s day was just a few days ago, I thought I would sit down and recollect the peaks and valleys of this new life of mine.
And it is an absolutely new life for me. The day my baby was born, a mother was born too. It has not always been an easy journey. Motherhood has stretched me and grown me, and I will share with you my honest and uncensored feelings about some of the more challenging aspects of being a new parent too. Nevertheless, as deliriously exhausting as it is, this new phase of my life has been indescribably rewarding.
I have accompanied this blog post with some of my favourite mama-daughter photographs that Reya and I have taken together.
1. There is no right or wrong, there is only action and consequence.
Rather than following the right or wrong, punishment or reward paradigm, I want to try something a little different. I want them to witness from an early age that their every action has a consequence that they are responsible for. Instead of giving myself the duty of rewarding their good behaviour and punishing their bad behaviour, I will let them do it themselves (am I just lazy? I don’t know). A parent yelling at a child “NO! THIS IS WRONG. I FORBID YOU TO DO THIS AGAIN” has very little effect in comparison to the quiet contemplation of a child, who decides that “Hmm, this didn’t really give me exactly what I was looking for. Let me try something new.”
As a mother, it will simply be my job to nurture their ability to see the long term and short term consequences of their actions. I will take the time to clearly explain to them that if you study, you will get good grades. If you treat your brother with respect, he will respect you back. If you don’t share your toys, people probably won’t want to share with you either. Remember; the consequence should be rewarding or punishment in itself. It doesn’t need my subtitles.
If my babycakes is frazzled about what to do in some area of their life, instead of telling them what they should do, I will instead ask them what it is that they want in this situation. Once we can see what they want, we can decide on appropriate action to take.
2. You are responsible for every single thing in your life.
This is probably the most important one ever. The worst outcome would be a child who does not believe they are responsible for their own life. And I believe it is up to the parents, in the beginning stages at least, to instil within them, a sense of responsibility and accountability; to teach them that all of these things in their life, both the wonderful and the terrible are there because of and for them. And to teach them that it is because of this that they can change everything, if they wanted to.
3. Learn how to make yourself happy and make yourself feel loved.
Don’t wait to get approval, happiness, support, love, wonderment, safety, joy and companionship from somebody if you haven’t yet been able to provide those feelings for yourself. Never live your life depending on somebody or something to inject you with your daily dose of happiness and fuzzy love feelings. These feelings come from within. Learn to do things every day to make yourself happy. Learn to do things every day that show yourself you value and love yourself deeply – whatever these things may be for you.
Remember that you hurt yourself the most when you fall out of love with yourself, not when somebody else does.
4. Believe in something (believe in yourself)
I will never dictate a religious pathway for my children to follow, but instead leave the option open to them. We can grow together without religion if they so please. I will allow them to explore what “Religion” is in our world today and decide if it is something they want to be a part of, or perhaps if there is an aspect of it they like and want to incorporate into their life.
When I say “believe in something”, I don’t necessarily mean “believe in the holy spirit” or “believe in Allah” or “believe in Hinduism”. What I am trying to get across is the power of having a simple belief system in SOMETHING. Some kind of faith. To believe in the goodness of people, to believe in kindness, to believe in responsibility, to believe in your dreams, and most importantly to believe in yourself.
Everybody connects in a different way, and who am I, as a mother, to define to them how that connection should take form.
I know there was a period in my life when I totally rejected religion and “God”, but it was all part of my process.
Once, during my channelling sessions, the ascended master Krishna came through to me and said “Don’t live to believe in me. Believe in yourself. As a result of this, you will believe in me too.”
5. Serve others.
I have been told that this is the single most precious joy that we can receive in our lives (though it may not always feel like it.) I want to teach my children to live to serve. To always ask of themselves “What can I do for you/this now?” and to do the best they can.
6. Be confident.
Be confident. Because, why shouldn’t you be confident. Live your life with vigour and purpose. You are here for a reason. You are important and valued and cherished. You will do great things in your life. If a child believes these things to be true, then why wouldn’t they be confident? The problem with developing confidence is that people want to do the “outer work” (walking with your head held high, attracting people, public speaking, networking etc) without spending enough, if not any time on the fundamental “innerwork” of confidence – which is to implement positive self-affirmations into your subconscious way of thinking about yourself.
I don’t believe that all children are born world-leaders (although they could do this if they wished), but I do believe that if a child is given a sense of purpose, and security, and encouragement from a young age, they will not be able to help but feel confident in who they are. And this is the most important confidence one can cultivate.
7. Follow your heart.
Always follow your heart. Listen to your head, but follow your heart. Marry the girl you love. Find her. Knock on her door and tell her that you love her. Chase the career of your dreams. Do what feels good and right and true to you. Make mistakes and learn. Love yourself. Believe in miracles, and create them by following your heart. Do what you need to do. Be impulsive at times. Be adventurous, daring, bold, exciting. Show up to your life! Be fully awakened and present, and experience the ever expanding ecstasy that is trapped in every single moment. Dream big and exciting dreams, and always believe in your hearts ability to love more than you think it can.
8. Be disciplined and focused.
Be a man/woman of your word. Be the kind of person that makes things happen. The only way to be that person is to be focused and disciplined in your life. Keep your promises to yourself – these are the most important promises that you simply cannot afford to break. Have a schedule and stick to it. Make rules for yourself and live those rules. Define your values and let your life be an example of them. Never let a dream go unawakend simply because you didn’t work hard enough.
9. Empower others.
I want to teach my children to live their life to empower others. I want to teach them to make every single person who comes to them, leave a little happier, richer, more secure, more empowered, more inspired, more in control, more beautiful, than they were. If we can make just one person happier every single day of our life, imagine how many people who would have changed in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, a life time? Always be a motivator of other people’s dreams, and always make people feel great about themselves. When you meet somebody new, ask yourself “what makes this person incredible and how can I let them know?”
10. Be kind, gentle, compassionate and loving. Treat everybody with respect.
No other character traits are quite as important.
Be kind. Do lovely things for another person.
Be gentle. Be gentle in all that you do. Every good thing can be done in a quiet, gentle, and humble way.
Be compassionate. Take the time to understand where people are coming from, and that everybody is doing the best they can with what they know. Listen to people. Listen to their story.
Be loving. Learn to love another human being with all your heart and soul. Love with no limitation and no bounds. Show them you love them every day, in your actions, in your speech, and in your thoughts (Trust me, they can feel it).
Treat everybody with respect. Every single person in this world deserves to be treated with respect. Why? Because they are alive and doing this “life thing” even when times get hard. Everybody must be respected. The king, the queen, the garbage collector, the school bully, the homeless man on the street. Every single person is valuable and special and without them, nothing would be the same ever again. Everybody’s opinions deserved to be listened to, and everybody’s will deserve to be manifested. If you live within this paradigm, you will instantly find that the world supports you in all that you do. You will find that the whole world listens to your opinions, and manifests your every will.
11. Understand that there is never an excuse for violence.
I wish to teach my children a violent-free life. I will always ask them to choose a non violent approach in all that they do – whether that be non violent communication and non violent action. There is NEVER an excuse to yell (unless there is a train hurtling towards their beautiful mama) and there is NEVER an excuse to hurt somebody with your words, and there is NEVER an excuse to hurt somebody physically. If you do something, no matter how justified you feel, if somebodies feelings are hurt, then you have done wrong. You just didn’t love yourself quite enough to win that argument. This is a hard teaching to follow, as it is so easy and sometimes so scarily acceptable to behave violently to people (even loved ones – especially loved ones.) Anger is a natural emotion but there are ways to deal with anger that are loving and caring. I may not know exactly what they are right now, but we will find out together.
12. Work hard and be good at what you do.
No matter how spiritual, kind, compassionate, loving and generous my children are, nothing will supplement the power of hard work. And hard work is hard. But children are champions and can be trained to work hard and to think little of it. Setting a standard of excellence from a young age is vital to being able to achieve a standard of excellence in their later life. I just want to teach them that whatever they do, do it well. Be the best at it. Whatever their dreams and goals are – which I acknowledge may well be (and are welcome to be) very different to mine – all I intend to teach them is to be the best at it. If you want to be a gardener– be the best gardener around. If you want to be a student – be the best student around. If you want to be a daughter, or a son, be the best one. If you are a husband or a wife, be a good husband, and be a good wife. Don’t half ass things. Be excellent at what you do, and open doors for yourself through the universe.