This article was based on the TEDxSF Talk, “Conscious Parenting,” by Shefali Tsabary:
|Conscious Parenting: Shefali Tsabary at TEDxSF (7 Billion Well)|
Shefali Tsabary is a clinical psychologist who helps people explore their inner worlds. Her clients tell her stories of love, loss, hidden fears, and deepest desires. Inevitably these stories turn to childhood, with a common theme about a thirst that only a parent can quench.
Each of her patients has a different story, but they are all calling out for help. They are looking for answers to life’s essential questions. They want to know, “Who am I? Am I my whole, am I worthy, do I matter?” No matter what Tsabary says to them, the words do not seep in because they’ve internalised another voice, an early voice, that of their parents. This first blueprint becomes the way we define ourselves.
Global Transformation Through Parenthood
Few hold a greater power or more immense responsibility than our parents. Parenthood needs to be at the forefront of our global consciousness. It affects how our children thrive, take care of themselves, each other, the earth, show compassion, tolerate differences, handle their emotions, create, invent, and innovate. This is where global transformation begins. It all starts with us and how we parent. We must occupy the role of parenthood in an entirely different way, with a renewed curiosity, a heightened awareness, and a transformed commitment.
Challenges Children Face
Our children are facing challenges today that we couldn’t have dreamed of. Evidence suggests that they are buckling under the pressure. One in five children in America shows signs or symptoms of a psychological disorder.
Two years ago, there were over 662,000 children in America that were in foster care. The use of ADHD drugs is on an exponential high. One study showed that American children ranked the second for unhappiest. Another study reported that one in ten children, over the age of 8, reported being unhappy on a consistent basis. What this is telling us is that we need to pay attention and raise our children differently.
The Power of Our Relationships
Of course, parental influence isn’t the only factor at play. There are various influences in our children’s lives that shape them indeterminably. There’s neurobiology, temperament, social pressures, and poverty. We could blame psychiatry, education, big pharma, and the government, and chances are we may be right, but our influence in these spheres is relatively limited. Where we do have power is in the relationships we nurture with our children.
Children come to us whole, complete and worthy, but because we’ve been conditioned so deeply in an unconscious manner, so severed from our own sense of presence, we project a sense of lack onto them. We teach them to look outside themselves for their own worth and value. Because we are severed from a sense of being, we are consumed by doing. This is how we know self-value. We teach our children that they must achieve and succeed. It is time for us to change the spotlight, to turn it inward, and change it from being the child who needs to be fixed, to parental evolution as the solution.
A Parental Awakening
The extent to which we as parents know ourselves is the extent to which our children will. The extent to which we as parents can love deeply, laugh loudly, risk bravely, and lose freely, is the extent to which our children will know joy and freedom. The extent to which we can live without fear is the extent to which our children will lead lives of courage. The time to awaken is now. The parenting paradigm needs to shift. Our children are our awakeners; they are our teachers.
It is time for us parents to answer the call, to pause, to reflect more, to connect to our own abundance, to trust our children, to understand their brilliance, to follow their lead, to self-love, to create purpose, to enter worth, and to be in gratitude. For this is how our children will absorb wholeness and abundance, fullness and spirit, and from this place, they can fly free. It is time for us as parents to answer our call to our own awakening. The moment is now, and our children await.