It’s uncomfortable to consider. Some of us would rather not consider it at all.
To our children, we are their first experience of the divine, the all powerful, the all-knowing, with a human face. We fix ZuZu’s petals. We are our children’s miracle makers.
Our ability to create can be a double-edged sword by wielding the power to destroy or obstruct our children’s development.
Our children come to us as spiritual embryos, beings working to build themselves. From birth, children have an inner life. Human development is a lengthy and internal process—an enigma that produces unpredictable results.
The problem with human development is the fact that the child has a spiritual life, even when he or she cannot express it. Because of the arduousness of this development, growth occurs over a long period of time. A child usually learns to walk by eighteen months of age. The effort the child uses to learn to walk is small compared to the internal work of the spirit.
A spirit is born, hidden in a small body, a spirit who little by little learns to exert his or her will in the world. The largest obstacle and the greatest help in the child’s new world is the adult who has enormous power.
Like the physical body, the spiritual embryo must be protected in an environment filled with the richness of love and regard for the psychic development of the child.
As the adults, we have three principles that we should follow to protect the spirit of the child:
1. Respect all reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand those activities.
2. We must support as much as possible the child’s desires for activity. This doesn’t mean that we wait on the child hand and foot, but we encourage activity in order to draw out the child’s singular and independent spirit.
3. We must be careful in our relationships with children because they are quite sensitive, more than we know, to external influences.
I’m reminded of the movie, E.T., where three children discover an extra-terrestrial. The children help E.T. meet his needs and protect him from the adults who would capture, examine, and over-analyze him to death.
Let us observe children’s activities and realize that these activities are the manifestations of the spirit within.
Our children’s activities are clues to their inner workings of spirit. Our children need our help to create an environment in which their spiritual embryos can grow stronger and healthier day by day.
As we observe our children, let us realize that tears, screams, misbehavior, shyness, disobedience, lying, egoism, and destructiveness are defense mechanisms of the child against us and are used as an attempt to gain our help to remove an obstruction to growth.
Children come to us very much as extra-terrestrials. We need to remember that children are new souls to this planet. Let us strive to be sensitive to our children’s needs, both physical and spiritual.