Because so few really trust the wisdom of life, people tend to project their lack of trust in their children. Consequently, our society believes that trust has to be earned.
I believe that not only do our children not need to earn our trust, but they need to know that we trust them implicitly because we see them as fundamentally trustworthy. Just by their presence, our children have earned the right to be trusted. To ask them to earn our trust reflects an insecure, power-hungry attitude that’s charged with both fear and ego. To have implicit trust in our children requires that, as parents, we display a basic reverence for and trust in life. The degree to which our children feel trusted by us reflects the trust or lack of trust we ourselves have. When we come from the mindset that all of life is wise, and therefore all its manifestations good, we see our children this way. We frame all mistakes as emerging out of a pure place. If this is so, where is there any room not to trust our children? On the other hand, if we are anxious and doubt our ability to transform life’s struggles into spiritual gold, no matter how we assure our children that all will be fine, we unconsciously transmit the opposite message. As parents, we communicate trust or distrust in the subtlest ways.
The questions we ask our children
the lectures we give them and the unsolicited advice we dish out all convey trust or distrust. For instance, when we repeatedly ask our children how they are doing, believing they must be going through something or other, we unwittingly communicate our own anxiety and hence our mistrust of life. By constantly checking on our children, hovering over them, or needing to know everything about their world, we communicate a sense of uncertainty, which undermines their basic trust in themselves. The less we check in on them in an anxious manner, the more we communicate the message that we don’t need to check in with them all the time because we know they are fully capable of taking care of themselves and will ask for help when they need it. When we make decisions for our children without giving them the chance to chart their own course, we communicate to them our own powerfulness and their helplessness, which fosters a distrust of themselves. If instead, we solicit their ideas and show respect for these ideas, even if we can’t always incorporate them into our plans, we communicate a deep reverence for their ability to contribute to the discussion at hand. Our children can sense when we have true, deep respect for their opinions and choices. It’s vital we recognize that, though they may only be little, they have a valid opinion that we respect and always take into consideration. As our children see that their presence is both meaningful and important to us, they learn to trust their inner voice.
We promote trust whenever we encourage our children to speak up and be heard.
They learn to trust themselves as we tell them, “I admire the way you put your thoughts together,” and assure them, “I trust you to do the right thing.” Should they happen to make an unwise choice, we don’t allow this to cause us to indicate a lack of trust in them, but simply tell them in a matter of fact manner, “You made this decision and now you are learning from it.” Lack of trust doesn’t enter the equation. I assure my daughter, “You will always be okay, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in because this is the sort of person you are.” Above all, I communicate trust in life’s ability to take care of us spiritually. Once we look at life as an incubator of consciousness, what is there not to trust? When our children sense our respect for their ability to lead the way, this empowers them beyond measure. As they learn they are worthy of holding our trust, this will come to mean the world to them. They will naturally rise to our trust in them.
HOW YOU DRAW MANY OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES TO YOU
Life in and of itself is neither good nor bad, but neutral. However, each of us holds the power to choose the manner in which we interpret our experiences, which greatly affects the nature of these experiences. Until we become aware, our interpretation of each of the things that happen to us is made all but automatically based on ingrained patterns. We label our world according to how we perceive what’s happening, not because it’s really so. For instance, if we feel pain, we tend to label our reality “bad.” In so doing, we are choosing how we feel about our pain—such as whether to feel sad, angry, lost, or unloved. Our choices are the result of the years of conditioning we received as children
When you operate from the worldview that life, in the precise pattern it unfolds before you, holds transformational lessons for you, you no longer shun experiences. Instead, you invite them in, sensing you in some way drew these lessons to you out of your innate longing to develop on a spiritual level. When people hear that they might have invited what they see as a negative experience into their life, they are often indignant: “Does this mean I caused cancer in my body or the accident my child was in? How am I responsible for an earthquake or the downturn in the economy? I can’t possibly be the cause of such seemingly random events.” Many are confused by this.
In my own case, my confusion cleared up when I realized there are two kinds of events: personal, and impersonal. Personal events include marriage, parenthood, work, friendships, and the like. Through engagement with another, it’s fairly obvious how we co-create the reality we experience. Personal events also include such elements as our eating habits, exercise choices, attitudes, and motivational levels. Though we might like to live under the illusion that things just “happen,” we help create our reality just by the fact of our presence in the dynamic.
Impersonal events are a little different and tend to feel like they really do just happen to us. I’m thinking of aspects of life such as the economy, our supervisor’s bad mood, the neighbor’s noisy dog, a car accident in which we weren’t at fault, a flood, or a tornado. Such events often seem random and unpredictable, as if they can pounce on us without a moment’s notice—and certainly without our conscious approval. If we are in denial of life’s potential craziness, imagining that somehow our resistance will magically keep things from happening to us, we will find ourselves in a cauldron of frustration, if not despair. When such events occur, it is our response to such random occurrences that’s key. This is where we get to make a choice and give our consent