Openness and What If?

While it is a fact that there isn’t any single definition or fixed guideline of good parenting, there are a few best parenting tips that will help in guaranteeing your child’s happiness.

In my early days of teaching I put an ample amount of my Montessori training and new educational information in the forefront of my mind and entered the school year feeling prepared and able to meet the needs of my young charges. I loved working with preschool age children so each year I applied what I knew and discovered more. When I wasn’t full of my own agenda I was more able to see the needs of the children and learn from them. As time went by it seemed that it became a regular part of the school year to have a child with strong challenges in the classroom environment. Of course I read up and took workshops on all the new learning challenges that seemed to be emerging but it wasn’t until I realized that the “difficult” child would be my Guru that things took a significant turn. This was the path IN. My ability to be receptive, observant and open invited the child to connect with me in such a way that we created a mutually responsive communication pattern. It was through this connection that we learned from each other and enriched our lives.

I knew that my own children had a significant impact on the way I viewed the world. They had successfully turned me upside down and inside out several times and I eventually surrendered to it knowing that somehow I would become “more” through the process. When I wasn’t parenting my two, I was in the middle of a community of young ones and it was a gift to me to realize I could extend my openness into my teaching as well. So I share with you here some thoughts on the gift your child brings to you.

  What If:

~ You envisioned your child as a catalyst for change? Consider everything that you had to learn to successfully bring this child into the world. The nine months of preparation offer up an experience that may be compared to preparing for visiting royalty. A true transformation takes place in the parents as they dream of life with their new child and all that it will encompass. At this time hearts are filled with love and hope for the future formation of a new human family. Without doubt bringing a human life into this world is one of the biggest experiences of a person’s life.

~ Your child is your Guru? Challenges that arise may bring out the weakest parts of yourself. Suddenly we can view our lack of patience more clearly. Our fears often stand out in stark contrast to our hopes. Our well managed lives can be peppered with days of chaos and uncertainty. Instead of feeling less than capable to the task we can take a deep breath and begin to work on building a stronger sense of self through these experiences. Maybe you have been extremely independent and have never asked for help before, only to find yourself overwhelmed and dire need of a helping hand. These challenges open us up to a larger life. One that helps us discover inner strengths and outer resources.

~By design your child’s presence has invited you into a deeper caring for your community and the larger world? When you were childless it was less of a concern to think about trends in younger members of the community. Often people remain detached in the communities where they live, going about their daily business without a real connection to neighbors. When you have a child, everything changes. Suddenly you are aware of the family down the street with the young child of similar age. You hear rumors about the local public school and either feel assured or decide that you will move before your child begins formal education. In some cases, people decide to get involved and help to create the changes they would like to see so their child will enter into a better experience when the time come. For some becoming an activist seems the most logical of choices.

Thoughts about the state of the planet begin to have a new urgency. What kind of world will your child inherit? The Iroquois belief of thinking of the next seven generations before making changes suddenly seems wise indeed.

The love of the child opens up the heart to a greater desire for peace and harmony on a global level. Humans love their children and want them to be safe, living purposeful and healthy lives. It is the common ground that we all share. In the grand scheme of things, our journey from womb to tomb is not all that long and although we may figure out the “systems” by which we live, there remains a vast mystery that is beyond our ability to completely comprehend. Consider Maria Montessori’s quote about pondering the larger vision of the Universe. The following is a quote from her book, “To Educate the Human Potential”:

“The laws governing the universe can be made interesting and wonderful to the child, more interesting even than things in themselves, and he begins to ask: What am I? What is the task of man in this wonderful universe? Do we merely live here for ourselves, or is there something more for us to do? Why do we struggle and fight? What is good and evil? Where will it all end?”

So in the grand scheme of things, perhaps it is in our best interest to allow ourselves to strive for a glimpse of the big picture. I think it will put life in a new context and allow us to see the miracles that surround us.

And maybe consider this too:

What if this was your chance to get it right?  We were all raised by human beings and that means each of us was exposed to limitations and imperfections. Maybe we were not treated well as children. Maybe we were neglected and unsupported. With your own child you have the opportunity to do things differently. If your parents were role models of what NOT to do, then you can more clearly make conscious choices that are better for your child. Forgive your parents if you can because there is no fixing the past and resentment will keep you bound to that which will not serve your highest good. Trust instead that your past experience allows you to give a better life to your child.  Sometimes we develop compassion for our parents when we realize what a daunting task child rearing can be.

Openness takes trust in ourselves and in the processes we engage to make sense out of our experiences as humans. Family relations are great motivators for personal growth and development and now  more than ever there are resources to help with challenges and issues that may be creating conflict and discord. Sometimes a change in perspective can be a starting point for a more manageable approach to family life.

About The Author

Lois Olson

Founder of The Montessori Children's House Inc. Laramie, Wyoming Montessori Primary Certification 1973
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting facilitator certification
Thirty eight years of experience working with children ages 3-6
Twenty five years facilitating parenting groups
Ten years facilitating teacher training
B.A In Psychology

1 Comment

  • Bonnie Phillips

    Reply Reply February 4, 2015

    Wow! What if? Openness. The child as Guru. You really have the ability, or gift, of turning challenges into learning ops. Seeing the big picture. Very inspiring, yet practical. XB

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