QA211 QUESTION: We have a question about the children. So many of us have children who come to the Center, and we are not always quite clear how to handle them. Not because of their different ages but because of the parent’s different attitudes – especially an attitude of too much permissiveness or maybe the opposite. We would very much like to ask you to guide us how to handle this best so that these young souls can benefit in every way.
ANSWER: Yes. Some of what I will say is repetitious, but I will try to say it in this new context and add whatever I can to the question right here. I will digress for a moment and speak about a general phenomenon in development, about everything, in any area in life: development goes from one extreme to another extreme.
It is like the way a pendulum swings. But the swinging of the pendulum is really a psychic movement – the spiral movement – so that each swing of the pendulum brings more integration of duality. The swinging of the pendulum from one extreme to the other represents really the opposites, which is another illusion of duality, of this realm of consciousness. Like you perceive the illusion of time and the illusion of space, so you perceive illusory opposites.
It is very much a trend that goes through all the lectures and all the teachings I have given you ever since the beginning, to conciliate these opposites, to show you in your personal inner self that things are not either/or but always both. Through that, you transcend the opposite and find the truth that apparent opposites are two facets that are integral parts of the whole.
When you look at history – in every area of history – you came to these opposites. Let us take just a few examples. Let us take political and economic development. You have the extreme of the feudal system, where the rights are with just a few over the masses who are underprivileged.
Then the pendulum would swing into the exact opposite extreme, where the masses have blindly all the rights at the exclusion of the individual. Both are excesses and extremes and away from the truth. And the truth is that there is no conflict between the higher developed, spiritually older entities guiding the majority of people who are less developed, less responsible, less capable of assuming responsibility, inwardly and outwardly. In that sense, a conciliation of apparent opposites takes place.
You have the same extreme when it comes to man and woman, historically, in the development. There was a time not so long ago, when man had all the rights and the woman really was, in a sense, a slave. But, again, just like with the political example or economic example, it is not master against the slave and the slave is the innocent victim. The slave always wants to negate responsibility.
As the masses assume more responsibility, they will become developed enough not to be ruled. As the woman assumes more responsibility, she becomes an equal to the man, and opposites will be conciliated – but not eliminated – for they are both beautiful expressions that complement one another.
It is the same principle in regard to the approach to children’s education. Until not long ago, the approach was to subdue children, to take every right from them, to rob them of self-expression, and to thwart them, emotionally and physically and even mentally. For mentally, the child was expected to blindly adopt a parent’s view, and was not allowed to express his own inner being.
From there the pendulum was swinging into the opposite direction of a permissiveness without instilling a sense of responsibility into the child. Without the sense of responsibility, permissiveness becomes not only destructive but extremely anxiety-producing for the child. There are many parents in today’s time who – as a result of their own problems that they have not quite resolved, perhaps of a very similar nature – are completely blind to the fact that self-expression must be coupled with self-responsibility.
Unless this is given and encouraged, anxiety grows. And this anxiety in children is so very often misunderstood. On the contrary, one then believes there is not enough freedom, and more freedom without self-responsibility is given.
A long time ago, as far as this channel is concerned, perhaps something like eight or ten years ago, I had given a lecture in which I spoke about the intrinsic connection between self-responsibility and freedom – that one is not possible without the other. It is absolute folly to expect that the one can exist without the other.
Another imbalance that has occurred in today’s approach to the raising of children – again very understandably as a reaction of former times – is that there is an overemphasis in emotional sustenance at the expense of mental guidance. In the past, children were mentally guided, but in a very cutoff way without any feelings, and feelings were discouraged.
Today, many parents lean in the direction of giving the child a free emotional self-expression, which is fine, but they misunderstand that the self-regulating nature requires guidance and help and sustenance on the conceptual, mental level. It is very foolish to assume that a child does not need that.
Just as the child needs to be nourished and protected physically, and as mankind has found out in the recent decades that the child needs to be given emotionally in feelings, in love, in warmth, in tenderness, it is still vastly ignored that a child equally and very desperately needs spiritual and mental guidance of concepts – new ideas. Not in the way this was done in former times in a punitive, prohibitive, self-annihilating way, but in the way you learn to deal with new ideas and concepts. The child needs this too.
There are many parents, even among you, who fall very short in this respect. You neglect this. You may perhaps not neglect the physical and emotional sustenance, but you do neglect this sustenance. Also, a child needs barriers. If a child does not have barriers, it becomes extremely insecure and anxious. And it requires this.
Even if it may rebel outwardly, this rebellion is never really against the barriers. In reality, it contains another message. But the barriers must exist, just as they must exist physically, for you would not allow a child physically to do something that would harm it. So it must exist in the other levels.
Only as a child very gradually learns to assume responsibility for itself can those barriers be widened and widened and widened. And barriers do not mean lack of love, as many of you have this misconception. Barriers and love come from love towards your child. By the same token, if you teach a child to nurture the life of a less-developed creature, in its real self, it will be grateful to you.
I would say there is not one idea of truth, not one concept you learn here on this Path, that cannot be used for any child, and can be understood by the child if you take the trouble to truly communicate and to truly assume the role of the parent. To the degree you want to be a willful child who wants to be indulged, you will have great difficulty assuming the role of the parent in the best sense of the word, where you can conciliate giving freedom with giving barriers.
QUESTION: In relationship to dealing with the child, we have certain awareness of a child’s vulnerability or demandingness. Yet the child does not have that awareness, and perceives our actions somewhat differently. So this must also be a consideration from that point of view of who has at this time less awareness?
ANSWER: Of course. I would say that all of you who are parents, as well as those of you who are not parents, can assume the role of the Helper toward your children. But it does require to give time and attention to them. And let it really be a two-way street. Assert in a loving way your position of an older Helper, someone who can convey something and help and guide. Pray for that understanding, as a Helper will do in a session with those who have entrusted him to do so.
When you receive a child, it has been entrusted to you. Now, it does require that you give it your attention – not only allow it emotionally to express and sometimes to a detrimental way when it comes into acting out – but also to really explain and teach conceptually of what you know.
Of course, it is your task that this is not done in a spirit where the child feels resentful and inhibited and prohibited. That already would set up a false climate. It should be done when there’s openness, when you are together in an openness, where you truly instruct your children, for that is part of your task. Many times, parents are very negligent in this respect and then they try to overcompensate for that by allowing a child what they call freedom – which is not freedom at all – and where the child truly suffers under this kind of freedom.
If there are particular vulnerable areas, use your knowledge and use your love and use your patience and use your time and use your attention and use your energy to work it out with the child, so that you can help it to an understanding of himself or herself. For that is what it is all about. Teach the child what you know. Do not assume it cannot understand this. That is not true. It can understand.
QUESTION: An adult in the Pathwork comes voluntarily, but with the child, I found that I have to move to them. It becomes a very touchy situation, where I don’t know when I’m forcing or when I’m trying to lead the child in.
ANSWER: You see, that is already a very different situation. You have not been together with your child or children at the time when they were impressionable and open and needful in this particular sense, and you did not even possess the capacity at this time to do so. So there’s also a reason that children came to you in this life, at the time when you could not possibly handle this, and this should not be reason for guilt on your part. This is the way it is in this life.
You have to wait till they want. All you have to do is be open, receptive, perhaps cultivate a contact and truly ask for inner guidance to what extent you offer, to what extent you wait. Allow this waiting to come to the child, that it can perceive a loving receptivity and readiness in you, that maybe slowly a confidence can grow.
QUESTION: I have been aware in the past few weeks of my real guilt toward one of my children, where I really have hurt him. I am trying now to be open and honest with him where my feelings for him are concerned. There’s a big part of me that is not that responsible. I do act out my negative feelings toward him where I’m not in a position of being a Helper, where I’m as childish and as demanding as he is.
ANSWER: Of course, where you are a child, you cannot assume the role. That limitation also has to be recognized.
QUESTION: When I perceive this in myself, when it’s happening, how I can deal with him at the moment, in getting through this situation?
ANSWER: You know, true self-awareness already changes the whole energetic pattern. The moment that you are really aware that you are a child, that you want to act out, that you resent the responsibility and the limitation that the child represents for you, to that extent there will be a much cleaner energy around you. And maybe you will not have to say or do so much about this.
It is much more serious when parents are completely unaware of this and they overcompensate for the guilt of this with an almost defensive liberalness that parades under the guise of true love. The true love may also exist but it is the blindness that creates the damage.
Now, if you are truly aware, you perhaps come into the position where you can pray at that instant. Call upon the higher wisdom of your universal self to give you what you need in order to do your best as the parent. At the same time, the compulsion must not exist, the sentimentality must not exist, that if you fail, that you have victimized this child. That is not true.
You are all entities, and each entity comes to the life it needs and it chooses and that is best. When your child chose you as the mother – as an adult entity, who he was when he made that choice – he knew that your difficulties are what he needs in order to develop. Now, it is important that you do not misuse such knowledge in order to go ahead and act out.
But at the same time, it is just as harmful to beat yourself in a spirit of self-blame. Only as you feel victimized by others will you feel guilty and think you victimize your child, because you have your own difficulties to contend with in your own path, in your own development.
So keep a sense of proportion and accept the Now. The Now is that everyone has problems to work through and you cannot be perfect; you can only do your best. What I say here are ideal standards that you cannot immediately adopt, but you can use them as a visualization for where you are going to grow into.