Sunday, December 28, 2014
Inspired by the Thomas Jefferson Education model we use for home schooling, I wrote a mission for our family to live by. It keeps us aligned in our purpose as a family unit. The main theme evolves around thoughtfulness and compassion for ourselves and the world around us, and how interesting when you consider what traits are necessary for understanding and caring for a child with autism. Compassion and thoughtfulness! When our children go off into the world they must learn to grapple with the realities of perspective. Whether it be in school, extra curricular activities or even just play dates, they are faced with situations that test their compassion, as well as the compassion of others. How ironic that this is exactly what the rest of the world needs to practice when they are exposed to those who are on the spectrum. Sounds like a life lesson, doesn't it? I see a world lesson on the horizon. 1:68 and rising!
Let's look at misbehavior, keeping in mind that "misbehavior" is a matter of perspective. The first thing most parents will tell you about misbehavior is to rule out things like hunger, tired and discomfort before attempting to teach a lesson to the child. This is because behavior rooted in pain demands compassion. Why stop there though? Pain isn't purely physical, children feel emotional and mental pain like the rest of us. They just don't express it well yet. Instead of the clarity of well expressed words, they act out. So when we rule out the physical pain sources, we should also consider why the misbehavior remains, which should tell us that some form of pain still exists. Dig deeper, are the child's feelings hurt, have they picked up on someone's mood or energy around them, are they sensing danger? Regardless of right or wrong, they are entitled to their feelings which are based on their own very real perception of the situation.
When we can understand that all misbehavior is an expression of pain, we can send loving energy to the person rather than reflecting their negative behavior. This, in itself, would halt the vicious cycle that often revolves around anger, even on larger scales.
I teach this to my children when they encounter a child who they perceive as being "mean" to them. Perception is 99.9% of your reality. Did you realize you can control your perception, thereby controlling your reality? I want my children to always believe in their own good intent, as well as that of others. A misunderstanding between children isn't always cut and dry, we shouldn't take the experience for face value and assume that we know what is happening. Instead, we should remind ourselves that in every misunderstanding, each person has the potential to be a victim of a misguided perspective. We learn how to perceive the world around us very early in our lives. Many of these connections are made and stored in our subconscious before the age of 7! Then we begin to apply learned behaviors to these subconscious interpretations, which can be molded to change based on our experiences as we grow and develop. A person who chooses meditation or prayer, in the face of a challenge, is choosing to change their subconscious in a way that will open the pages of the world before them. On the contrary, a person who chooses self-deprivation or blame in the face of that same challenge has closed the book, and in turn, sealed their fate with feelings like anger and resentment. The emotions have the potential to cause dis-ease short and long term.
There is no reason to assume that only children react to emotions with misbehavior, adults are just as capable of missing the bigger picture. In fact, when you consider "misbehavior" like addiction and abuse, aren't they just an extension of this very situation? If they felt understood, if they are treated with compassion, and were from the very start, isn't it possible that these manifestations of anger and resentment might have never taken hold? Envision an abused dog. A dog who is cornered and treated poorly will lash out with anger and vehemence, and by default this once innocent puppy will resort to a habit of violence, in retaliation. This same dog can then be loved and treated with compassion, turning around the behavior once they develop trust again.
This is precisely why I give my children a voice. I don't always know what is best for them, in fact, it's likely that they comprehend a heck of a lot more than we give them credit for, they just haven't learned to manage those feelings with controlled expression yet. If we don't allow them to express themselves, we are suppressing their inner guidance. Suppression = pain and dis-ease. When we allow our children to make mistakes and explore their voices, we give them the power of confidence in their decision making. When we encourage them to say what they feel, they learn the value of acknowledging their emotions. It won't be perfectly packaged, but we are there to help guide them through using their words effectively.
I truly believe that each family member holds a special role in their family unit. Life wouldn't be the same without their intricately placed existence. We must be open to what their individuality has to offer, if we want them to embrace everything they are capable of.
We have been told by multiple healers that our 6 year old son is an empathic intuitive, even Shaman-like. We have experienced telepathy with him, as well as an incredible all-knowing ability he only exhibits when the need arises. My husband experienced one of his most impressive lessons when our son channeled his great grandfather (my husband's grandfather) who passed many years before our son's birth. The experience left little to the imagination, because our son actually used names he didn't know, he was very matter of fact about his experience and who he was communicating with. It was later confirmed that the timing of this experience was amazingly coordinated with the passing of my husband's Uncle who left his physical body with a smile on his face! When speaking with everyone involved, there is no denying that my husband's grandfather came through our son to reassure the family that he was there to help his son transition into his journey beyond life on this earth. My husband immediately developed a new appreciation for life beyond this dimension.
Among the lessons my children have taught me, I have learned about the value of maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit (and exactly how to go about doing that, they were my motivation), I have learned to stand tall and have a voice for the greater good, I have learned that my own physical, emotional and spiritual health plays a role in our family well-being, I have learned how to communicate more effectively and love more deeply, and I have become a better person entirely because of the mere existence of my little guys. I am still learning and my greatest teachers are my children. Never under estimate the power of your lessons disguised by your children.