I strongly believe that all humans are basically good. What changes the course for some of them are circumstances and the lack of presence. I also believe that all parents love their children, yet too many of them act exactly in the way they were loved as children, which sometimes means lack of love.
Considering humanity’s obsession for immortality by genealogy, it amazes me how nonexistent and informal is our human preparation for parenting. Today we can access a multitude of channels that can stop us from unconsciousness and yet we do not, even if we have the freedom to choose or in our depth we feel the need to be better at specific learning.
There are no formal courses, required for the couple life, for friendship, for parenting, etc. Although more and more learning venues have appeared, we still continue to do what was done to us, and occasionally there are waves of awakening. It might be a professional flaw or habit, the fact is that I see, I see my own behavior, Sara’s, and also that of those around me.
As I advance on the path of “conscious fatherhood” I realize how important it is to keep at least two elements as constant part of BEING.
The first is “the presence”, meaning that you’re aware there by your child. Through it you get all the information from your child, thus avoiding mental projections and different interpretations of what occurs, mental subtitles occurring due to the absence, the loss of the present in exchange for this mental noise.
The second is being informed, both about “fatherhood” and about the stages of child development. The information combination puts us, as parents, exactly where we should be, the most important effect is cutting off the behavioral automatism’s which are permissible, because, apparently, are rooted in good intentions.
I observe praise and punishments. My first thought is Alfie Kohn and conditioning behavior yet also setting behavioral types located between punishment and reward. Obviously, living surrounded by such a practice, it seems impossible to avoid mimicry, or maybe by the presence, our reaction may be one born of what we see and not from outside.
I notice emotional and/or behavioral blackmail that constrains the child’s freedom and provides a large mystery to what just occurred. The lack of explanation on the audience’s language changes the level of communication and when we target the top down, meaning from the crystal tower of alleged knowledge, provided with a door closed for those with a still growing body.
I see the steep limits, without explanation, applied to a conduct that five minutes before was permissible. It’s not hard to imagine the reaction of the child and his confusion. I still discover the limits situation and I have learned more and more from Otilia Mantelers’ conference. I intend to return with a full post on the subject because I consider it extremely important.
I notice a lack of participation, children crying, calling and demanding to involve their parents, however, their responses are delayed. Too caught up in their conversations or thoughts, they react only to some coded signals from their own childhood; danger (or the mental construction thereof), noise etc. Meanwhile, the children are still under the sway of joy, of course, they want to connect, often just for a short time. For a few seconds, they want to reflect their new skills in their absent parents. Many of the grown people no longer even realize that children do not miss anything in their behavior.
I observe talking instead of your child, speaking in his name, abruptly cutting their attempts to express themselves, to find balance in words. The adults are often caught by an imaginary hastiness and then speak always. Like a sort of a subtitle voice for a movie that takes place in front of them, translating into words everything, from intentions to gestures, from action to immobilization … so I often wonder: what am I for Sara?
At the beginning I used to interrupt her from her activities assuming her need for help, now “Saia (Sara) heiself (herself)” shows me where I get off from my own automatisms. Sara doesn’t even seem interested by my presence today. Once she completes the illustration of her new abilities she abandons herself to the game with available partners. She only calls me for new illustrations or to suggest changing the playground (from the inflatable slide to the trampoline or vice versa). Yet every so often she casts a glance at me, and it seems that she smiles to me, and then returning to the childhood universe.
So I return to me, parent, lover, husband, etc, multiple identities that I try to introduce into one. I, wishfully the one deeply connected with the self, the one who observes without judgment and who answers to the call of connection with the child next to me, with the one inside of me. A loving person, responsible and most of all, as often as I can now sustain, present. So avoid as much as you can the “good intentions” as they are alienating you away from the deep self and throws you into the labyrinth of a shallow mind, where thoughts are all on autopilot.