Answering your child’s biggest question
The biggest quest in this life, if you are a parent, is to assist your child/ren to know Who They Really Are, and the fact that you are their gateway into this world can make the feeling of responsibility overwhelming. The first thing you have to do is understand that you have absolute freedom to be the human/person you wish to be–and that it has nothing to do with how much money you have or don’t have, how much love you had or didn’t have, or even how you were treated as a child yourself. Once you understand that, showing your children how they can be Who They Really Are is much, much easier.
Every child has the same basic question, and you can be sure that it is in their mind, whether they ask it out loud or not. The question is: “Who am I?” And the older children grow, the more urgent the question becomes. Life — for all of us, but for children, especially — is a search for personal identity. Children learn that the way they comb their hair, the clothes they put on, the way they walk and talk–everything, in fact, about the way they are, begins to form their identity.
Not coincidentally, in Conversations with God some of the most important questions asked are “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” Answering those questions leads to an understanding of “Who We Really Are,” the exploration of which begins with the Soul.
Who You Really Are is, of course, about much more than what you do for a living, where you live, how you look, how much money you make, how you dress, etc., as we noted above. Most adults know this. Children, on the other hand, may not. Which is why they will beg for that new piece of clothing that is now the fad. (“Mommy, I’ve just got to have it!”) Or that new gadget that has hit the streets. (“Everybody but me has one!”) It’s not easy to teach your children that Who You Are is more about how you see yourself, your intrinsic self-worth, and the love you extend to yourself and others. These are adult concepts that children cannot be taught through talking nearly so effectively as through showing.
That will be very challenging if we have not asked and answered life’s most important question ourselves.
Because “Who am I?” is asked so much, it makes me deeply aware that we, especially parents, are, in fact, on a great quest to find out Who We Really Are, and who our children are in relation to ourselves. That, it seems to me, is the whole purpose of life. It is a pretty deep thing to think about (unless, as Neale Donald Walsch would say, it is not!) So the big question here is, if I am still learning who I am, then how in the world do I show my children who they are?
Here is my thought. Maybe, just maybe, we each already know, but ignore it. Perhaps we come here to remember who we are. Perhaps through our remembering, disguised as a quest of discovery, we experience the true magnificence of being, and of our connection to everything.
What we are invited to remember is that we can be anything we wish to be. We are each constantly creating a new “Me” in every moment, just as if we are each a division of cells, sloughing off and rebuilding ourselves. There is no amount of knowledge that can show us to ourselves. Reading, taking a class, and listening to the world around us are all great ways to gather ideas of who we can be, but the “Who” we are must come from inside of us. How we live, act/react, hear and interpret our inner selves (and the world) make up “Who” we are. And that is the message we are invited to send to our children.
How do we best send it? By demonstrating it. Children watch us. They watch us more closely than we might think. We are “modeling” for them every day in every way. And they will soon begin to imitate us. You can watch it happen!
No one can truly change or mold your children into someone different than that which they naturally are. The attempt by some parents to do so is one of the biggest mistakes that parents can make. We each, alone, get to do that for ourselves; we each, alone, get to choose Who We Really Are. As your children watch you do this, they will learn how to do it for themselves.
As an adult you can do this by understanding your own voice and accepting it…not only listening to your inner voice and the power of your words, but also the simple action of hearing (listening) to your outer voice…the sound of your own voice. Listening to and honoring your real self is the only way to consistently present your true self in the world. And doing that will be a wonderful modeling for your children.
Looking for tools in this? Well, I can tell you that understanding the messages of Conversations with God assists me in every moment of my life as a parent and in my connection with my spirit. I have been lucky. Since I was a child I have had the understanding that we are free to love the things we love, dislike those things that make us uncomfortable, and feel freedom in making those choices. But I am not certain that most people truly understand how free they are to think and feel as they choose. And the CWG books have put me back in touch with what I, myself, knew as a child.
Just think about that for a few moments. Ask yourself, and then ask your child (at an appropriate age, of course): Do you feel free to make your own decisions? If they say “no,” ask them why not. But be ready for answers that may relate directly to you.
If we do not feel the spiritual freedom of which I speak to define ourselves, for ourselves, based on our own inner understandings from a very young age, then we might actually begin to limit our understanding of ourselves. Through this limitation, we might actually take steps down a path which leads to what I call a “society box” in which we cage the human emotions that we all have, contradicting the messages of our own knowing and doing what others think is best.
To help your children avoid this trap, begin by showing and telling them that none of those things mentioned a minute ago matter, that all that really matters is how they see the world, how they feel in it, how nature brings life effortlessly to itself, to them (and to us), and that Life just happens.
It feels to me that being Who You Really Are should happen effortlessly even through the uncomfortable times. What does “effortlessly” mean? It means allowing life to unfold naturally, as it comes, without struggling for or against it. In this you will automatically be Who You Really Are.
Interesting that we are told by others to “just be ourselves.” Why would that even come up? Shouldn’t being ourselves be obvious, natural, and effortless to us? How is it really even possible to be anything other than “yourself?”
Teach your children to just be themselves, and do this by you just being yourself, authentically and openly in every moment, and you will have taken a huge first step in answering parenting’s toughest question: Who Am I?
(Laurie Lankins Farley has worked with Neale Donald Walsch for 10 years. She is the Executive Director of his non-profit School of the New Spirituality and creative co-director of CwGforParents.com. Laurie has published an inspirational children’s book “The Positive Little Soul.” She can be contacted at Parenting@TheGlobalConversation.com.)