My name is Michelle, I am a middle school teacher and department head of languages, with 3 children of my own. The reason I sought out Shefali Tsabary’s book ‘The Conscious Parent’ myself, the reason I have had to do a lot of unlearning, uncomfortable self examination and digging for answers, is that my oldest child is not one to conform. Although he is very intelligent , he does not perform well at school, he has a likeable personality and many friends, but does not think he needs to cooperate with teachers’ directions. We are very close and yet he has also always been frustratingly aloof about my ideas for him or requests about behaviour, performance etc. These dynamics have produced a lot of fear, frustration and anger at times.
The hope I had to impose my ideas about what he should be, insisting on high test score results, grooming for the nice neat fit in the box professional I dreamed of delivering to the world, all those hopes I have had to let go of. What I have had to find instead is a way to maintain a connection with him, to maintain firm boundaries, but accept him for who he is, and resist the temptation to control (and attempt to make him into who I think he should be.) For this is the only way he will be able to “rise taller, brighter, grander, than I was able to”, if I can help him realize the greatness and potential that already exists within him.
I have learned my son has a lot of gifts, and wisdom about what is wrong with the world, and that he has a lot of compassion and ideas about what needs changing. When we are supportive and he is given opportunities to be creative, he has been very successful in school. As a teacher with many years of observing young people, I can assure you that your children have their own gifts, talents, ideas and potential – that they came here with – as well.
The video I found sums up the author’s message about the struggle we all will have to some degree with our children, and our outdated ideas of what a parent should be. This will be a long sometimes messy journey trying to instill values, motivation and responsibility in our children, while finding a way to honour who they already are, what they are here to discover, learn and contribute from their soul , and teach us.
What if our children were also here to hold up a mirror to ourselves, show us what our fears, insecurities, anxieties and need for control we hold and should be facing in order to heal. And what if our jobs as parents were to first accept ourselves, and then accept our children, so that we as parents can ultimately “mirror their inherent wholeness, out of which they will manifest who they are becoming.”
I will be sharing a message from a master educator and innovator, who shares this same message from an educational perspective, along with the direly needed change in our educational perspective especially in these times.