Children are the brightest, the liveliest, the most promising stars of hope that God has ever sent to grace the human race. They are beginners, and beginners are leaders. They have the freshest impression of every moment, and they leave the most transparent footprint in their wake, as evidence of a free and unencumbered presence. They are royalty, pure of heart, and filled with Love's innocence and the wisdom of Love's unconditional acceptance. Children know how to be themselves and delight in expressing the wonder and the joy of their existence. That is until someone tells them not to––that they are too big or too small, too loud or too quiet, too fast or too slow, too much or too little, too anything and everything, but clearly not enough.
We are, each of us, those children, even still. As we navigate our adult terrain, promising ourselves that we will get it right, do a better job, not screw up, make them proud, flash a smile, and try our very best to be happy. Or, we decide all bets are off, what's the point, there's no pleasing them, why try at all? A losing hand will never win. And so, we create lives and scenarios that rail against a hidden enemy whose disguises are too numerous to recognize.
We could blame a few, or many––the parents, the teachers, or the siblings. Any one of them could very well have been the catalyst of the fear that stopped us dead in our tracks, on our way to becoming us, and sent us in search of a better way to be. At that moment, we lost our freshness, delight, freedom, and joy and sought to become someone we didn't know. We didn't realize or know how much of ourselves we would compromise, sacrifice, and lose, to fit in, to please, get along, belong, to be loved.
Some acts are perpetrated on children with malicious intent to harm. But mostly. it's a lack of awareness of their relationship with Fear and a desire to give their children a better life and fashion them into better people, which compels parents and caretakers to align with Fear and rob children of their true identity.
Some parents pride themselves in allowing their children a full range of expression, free of guidelines, and guidance on steering themselves in a mindful and balanced way. Others set limits and establish rules, while seemingly supporting their young ones to grow into who they choose to be. Then, with the heavy hand of Fear-based authority, some repress the very spirit of a child, daring them to express even the smallest sampling of who they are inside.
In all these ways that parents attempt to 'do the right thing' by their children, one unavoidable, undeniable fact still remains: they will all teach them to be afraid. Good or bad, indifferent or focused, in whichever way a parent is driven to teach a child how to be who they should be, it's always out of the fear of who they may or may not become.
Children are hit the hardest by Fear; their openness, vulnerability, and innocence are the antithesis of the oppressive, harsh, and joyless distortion that Fear creates in our human expression. It is at this point, when we are young, that our lives shift dramatically, and we become aware of this foreign energy that seeks to take hold of our precious reality. Children are sensitive creatures, but they are also survivors.
The first response a child has to this indefensible invasion is to protect the heart, the source of the feelings, and the voice of the soul. They rescue their openness, vulnerability, and innocence and hide it safely within while closing the heart and detaching from their feelings. They use their minds to think of how to behave and what to say in this new and strange situation. Most of all, children realize that something has gone terribly amiss. That the pure Love of their birthright is now gone, and something called 'love,' fashioned out of Fear, would now take its place.
When we begin the journey of learning to love the self, we must go back to that time in our lives and tell the child's story. As adults, we will first look back, telling it over the distance and the time that has passed since we were there. With guidance, we begin to 'be there' and allow the child's voice to speak the truth of his or her experience. Thus safe and supported, the child will begin to tell what happened, all the things that were seen and said.
It's the child's story that's the most important of all. Without the threat of censure or judgment, the child will begin to reveal the true self, and sometimes, for the very first time, the person will get their first real glimpse at who, in the recesses of that hidden heart, they indeed are. It's at this point on The Path that the true self begins to awaken and the possibility of being loved for who we are stands within our reach.
Listen to the audio version at 'Let's Get Inspired!.'