Nurturing The Future Part 2: Becoming
When we talk about how to help children develop as best we can we have to think what we need to know in order to do so. For instance, we have to know what capabilities children have, what they perceive and how their minds and conscious awareness develop. Helping children develop in the area of language and motor skills and so on and are being studied by experts, I will defer to them in this area. It is these skills that ground us into out bodies and enable us to interact fully with the physical world around us That said, no matter how good any of these techniques are, one must be mindful of them so as to avoid using those that negatively affect other areas. As important as these skills are, the foundations of a child's whole self should take precedence. This means, put simply, we must pay attention to their mental, emotional and spiritual development.
This should not be news to anyone. The mind needs to develop with as few blocks, restrictive filters and conflicting notions and so on as possible. Their emotional self will develop in tune with these, so we want to help them build thoughts that will strengthen their higher rather than lower emotions. Spiritually we would want them to retain such things as their love and natural caring and their sense of "connectedness" of oneness without and within.
These development needs do not change over time so much as they are added to. The way we treat young children is the way we should treat older children, though how and what we do in their regard varies by the age and the child level of development. As I mentioned, we are not going to focus on mundane skills development, we are looking at the overall state. None of these interferes with children learning the more mundane skills I referred to earlier, in fact they help.
In our modern times, certainly in the western world, childhood should be a time of great adventure and exploration. If they are guided by an unconditional and engaged parent, ones who do not indoctrinate them in their particular belief systems, their explorations will yield a mind rich in possibilities. To do this we should remember that the fundamental task of a parent is to prepare their child to live on their own. This means helping them acquire the awareness, wherewithal and skills to be able to provide for themselves. We are their guardians, their teachers, their loving parents (this applies family and friends as well) and their providers and so on, they are not our property.
Historically, we have taught our children how to survive in the real world rather than how to thrive and have tended to raise them as if they were extensions of ourselves and our society and so on. This tends to result in their inheriting and becoming locked into the beliefs and ideas of the past instead of rather than building new ones.
We will begin our look at how we help our children develop by focusing on the first three years and what we can do to foster their growth in the areas I have mentioned. What is most important for babies and young children is their environment. I am not referring to the necessities of life, rather to the energies around them, part of which are thought forms and emotions. These are important because this is the period of time when our mental house starts to take form, and doing what we can to help them develop a good mental foundation is critical for their long term development.
In part 1 of this series (1) I listed the following skills as important for a child's development. The are:
- Ways to help them understand their developing mind and emotional self
- Ways to consider and think about what is perceived and experienced
- Helping them to develop better reasoning and thinking skills
- Suggestions on noticing and managing their reactions
- Fostering their natural and unbridled curiosity and imagination
- Some simple exercises to help develop needed skills in:
- Energy management
Obviously we are not going to teach a child of three years old or younger these skills as stated. What we can do is help them develop a good foundation for them. We start off our lives with only a rudimentary mind and it takes time for them to develop a connection to the world around them. Complex thoughts, such as those required for language let alone these skills are a ways off. A child perceives is more like a kaleidoscope of vibrations. They do perceive energies beyond the physical though it is their physical sensations that are dominant. We are a spark of consciousness that has wrapped itself in a cloak of various energies immersed in a world full of sensation. As a result babies minds are not quite blank slates upon experiences etched thoughts and emotions (2).
"It is also important to note that when that Spark descends down through the planes (actually it is ascending but that is another matter beyond the scope of this essay) it builds its mental and emotional bodies. It attracts energy of like kind, these being energies of the various sub-planes that resonate with the code I referred to. In addition, it must use what is available. This means energies from our parents prior to birth, form others we come in contact with and those of the various group consciousness's and some of the traits or qualities that people refer to as instinctual. By various group consciousness's I am referring to those related to the area, culture and country we are born into as well as those of humankind and so forth.
The energies I refer to form the kernel around which we will build our mind. This is our foundation and we will grow and learn from there. Further, we will do so regardless of whether we see or realize it because each and every experience adds to and influences our consciousness. It does so in both the lower and higher self though influences on our higher self generally only occur once we die, when the “essence” of our existence returns."
"A child has virtually no mind, so during the period after birth most perceptions are of the “raw” variety. A child’s mind is like a computer with a bare bones operating system. As the child grows and the mind develops our experiences manifest our personality (or software on the computer) and this gradually influences our individuality and the kernel I referred to earlier."
In the essay Time To Weigh Anchor (source of above quotes) and others I discussed the development of our minds so I won't go over it again here. Suffice it to say that at the beginning our lives our minds are rudimentary and though they are not yet able of any significant amount of conscious thought they perceive and react to subtle energies such as thoughts and emotions. The thoughts and energies their reactions manifest form the foundation of their minds and auric field.
In the first few months they develop thoughts that enable them to move their physical vehicle and rudimentary thoughts about what they perceive. These are not the only types of thoughts they have; however, their minds are just developing . At this stage most of their attention is on the physical as their physical senses tend to dominate their non-rational awareness (that of subtle energies). Thoughts related to their physical body, touch, movement and their reactions to what they see make up the bulk of their early thoughts. They can only relate to what is in their environment which includes not just physical objects and people such as their parents, siblings and relatives, and associated energies.
At this stage their minds are comprised of mostly simple, disparate and loosely connected thoughts. The Among the first they develop are those related to motor skills and perception and through interaction they begin to develop an understanding of their bodies and the environment.
The thoughts in our minds are ordered based on a hierarchy of thought types. That hierarchy starts with root constructs, these being beliefs, then thoughts related to those beliefs followed by details (3). Facts and details are lower level thoughts while thoughts about thoughts such as beliefs are of a higher order. The majority of thoughts we develop as babies are simple, lower level ones related to our environment, physical movements and what we come in contact with.
It takes time for higher level thoughts to develop. Core beliefs, beyond those we may have brought into a lifetime with us, take form over time. Early on our minds lack structure and the ability to compare and contrast thoughts. The result is that our reactions to our experiences can manifest lower level thoughts which are in conflict with others we have manifested. This will lead to the development of higher level thoughts that are also in conflict or invalid (erroneous). Remember, our minds are not concerned with truth and validity, just in relationships and commonality. These skills must be developed consciously before the mind will use them.
Children learn with every experience they have, and what they learn from any given experience depends on several things namely:
- What they brought in with them into a given life
- The capabilities their minds have developed at that point in time
- The kinds of experiences they have
- How they reacted to them (the thoughts those reactions manifested)
Now, while adults see distinct objects babies and very young children do not. As I mentioned above babies perceive a kaleidoscope of input and over time, as they interact with this barrage of input, their minds will gradually coalesce. Babies do not immediately reduce their field of “visual” conscious awareness down to distinct physical objects, though it is the physical world that tends to dominate their attention.
One of the first orders of business, so to speak, is to learn to distinguish one object form another. We take some much of our perception for granted. For example, we can "know" certain things about objects just by looking at them. Building thoughts that enable us to do this are critical. This is why touching is so important to their development. It is the only way they are going to be able to differentiate distinct object in that kaleidoscope of sensory input.
A baby does not know what things are and cannot label them yet, though their minds will do this with simple thoughts. This knowledge is developed through physical contact, interactions and eventually language. As their minds ability to differentiate between and among things develops its complexity grows and language skills become possible.
Children do inherit some thoughts they can use. For example, they recognize faces, but they do not know what a crib is or that they are lying in one. While babies and young children do not understand language they do perceive and react, albeit in a rudimentary and simply manner, to our physical actions and the energies we manifest.
There are still many who believe that what happens to and around babies during the first years of life is less relevant to their long term development than what occurs when they are a little older and have developed language and so on. They believe this because they see babies as being unaware of what is going on around them; however, this is certainly not the case. They may seem to be oblivious to it at the time, but that is not the same as their being unaffected. Do not mistake the lack of a visible reaction in a child for the absence of a reaction. Hence while it is true that their minds lack the language for conscious awareness and understanding what they experience they do sense and react to the energy of thoughts and emotions. The key take away here is that their reactions create thoughts that are the platforms upon which other thoughts will be built.
It is also true that their minds have a great deal more plasticity during the first few years of life than, more than a teenager as plasticity diminishes with age. This leads people to the belief they are less affected or that it insulates them from long term harm. It is true that this can make recovery or healing from major traumas easier; however, even if they do appear to have healed from them aspects will remain. Nor is there any way to know how connected they are to other thoughts. The more connected the thoughts they manifested are the more likely it is they will affect them. How much depends on whether the reaction recurred and how traumatic the experience was. Both of these reinforce the reaction making it stronger resulting in more of the child's existing thoughts being affected. Naturally, if this occurs, it will be detrimental to their long term development.
At this point we need to note that our bodies come with a built in flight or fight mechanism and though at that age our minds are only beginning to develop they do have access to this and will use it as part of its reaction to the experience. This is because our mind arises out of the relationship between self or soul and experience and so it is "connected" to both. It is able to affect changes in the body even though it is comprised of energy of a different sub-plane. When through various reactions it deems something as dangerous it will tie that thought to this mechanism so that it will be triggered when the thought is.
This doesn't mean necessarily mean that there is an actual threat, only that the mind has deemed it so. This is how we can become afraid of things that cannot hurt us or react strongly, including physically, to even ideas.
Knowing all of this we can start to understand how to nurture our children better. We know that thoughts are energies and children are capable of perceiving them, though there are many they do not pick up on. The reason for this is that in order for to be aware of something we must have a way of reacting to it. A "passing thought", being energy, is perceptible if we have a thought within our mind that resonates or shares something in common with it. For example, a thought about a complex idea would not likely be something a child could pick up on as they do not having such thoughts themselves; however, if instead we hurt ourselves and reacted to it they can relate to such thoughts because they likely have similar ones within their developing mind.
You would be wise if you realize that, as a result, they can also pick up on how we react to experiences when around them. This means the behaviour of parents and those around children are singularly important. They actually do learn reaction capabilities from us and so how we do act and react affects the development of their thoughts and energies and this includes their coping skills.
The other aspect of how what we think when we are around children that can have a beneficial or detrimental affect them is the energy of the thought itself. Each thought is comprised of energy of a particular sub-plane and when activated stirs energy of the same type just as it does energies in their emotional body. By the later I am referring to, for example, how caring and compassionate thoughts stir emotional energy we feel as caring and compassionate. The child may not be able to understand the thought itself; however, it can make use of the activated energy to create thoughts of a similar type (though ones of a more rudimentary form).
Of course they won't necessarily do so just because such energies are available, nonetheless the potential is there and the likelihood of them doing so increases significantly the more such energies are around. The closeness a child feels to someone also helps, such as with family members, because they are more open to them and which leads to a close energy relationship. The converse is also true in that negative thoughts and the resulting energies are also more available and likely to be used.
This dynamic also plays a role in why the emotional energies around children can help or hinder the soundness of their emotional and mind or mental body. We looked at this from the perspective of the thoughts we have, but it also comes into play with the emotions we have. When we encounter an emotional energy we can only relate and react to it if we have energies of a similar kind within our emotional body.
For instance, if we encounter malice energy we will only be affected by it if we have thoughts that have manifested this energy. If we do we can find ourselves not only thinking malicious thoughts but also in reacting to them we can manifest more (though we may not be consciously aware of them). The same goes for a child, hence the need to be mindful of the energies we expose our children to. This is why the more higher level emotions one has around their children, such as compassion, sympathy, devotion and affection the greater the positive effect.
Knowing this one might be inclined to want to keep their children away from anyone who may have lower thoughts and emotions. This is not only impossible but unnecessary if the parents keep a close relationship with their child as this becomes the dominant relationship. Being the dominant relationship the child is less open to others and any conflicting thoughts will be compared to ones they gets from parents or family members. Thus they will only be influenced by them if there such thought forms exist already. Further, while a child perceives these energies, be they thoughts or emotions, and they may not be able to relate to them directly they will react to them. How they react to them will depend in no small part on how parents have reacted in similar circumstances. Do not underestimate the potential effect, for "better or worse", of your actions and reactions.
This is why spending time talking and reading to children and playing with them and so forth is every bit as important as most of us know showing them unconditional love and affection to be. Such acts have enormous benefits to a child's long term development just as not providing them or raising them in environments where there are lots of negative thoughts and lower emotions is detrimental. This is because we built our mind and emotional body out of not just our reaction to experiences but also, as I mentioned, the energies available to us. It is synonymous with haphazardly building a home out of substandard materials. Such a house would be dysfunctional, rooms, may be inaccessible and you end up living in one small section within what should be a spacious and open home.
Parents and those who interact with children also need to be aware that while a very young child does not know the meanings of words they do react and their minds integrate their reactions and experiences. Children also misinterpret what they experience be it a physical interaction or the actions, thoughts and emotions of others. In addition, even though they do not consciously know that someone is lying their minds do recognize this and as a result it can create thoughts that incorporate lying, are in conflict or simply false. They can recognize because when we lie the energy of the words doesn't match the energy of the thoughts behind it. Lie detector's are a crude example of this as they measure our physiological reactions to our thoughts We do perceive this, though we are usually not consciously aware of it for various reasons. This extends to such acts as blaming, guilt, jealousy, fear, anger, malice and so.
All of the above affect how a the child's mind takes form. When they are new born and very young they are manifesting thoughts all the time. What we care about is the structures that those thoughts begin to form. If we think in a haphazard, erroneous or illogical manner they will pick up on this too and their mental house can start to act in a similar fashion. If you want your child to have the greatest benefit remember: if you put garbage out, they will take it in.
Further, the emotional energies in the home also have a significant affect because a child's mind has a tendency to correlate all that it perceives with an experience in its reactions. For instance, it can be doing something and if someone a family member nearby gets angry their minds may connect the anger with whatever it was they were doing. The results may not surface for a while and if and when they do it is very difficult to get at the source of the issue as it, along with the memory of the event, is buried in the structure of their minds.
So far we have looked at what can affect their mental and emotional development. This is certainly important as the mind we have and the emotions we manifest define us at the level of personality. We do have another important element that needs to be helped along as well, and that is our spiritual aspect. This one is more subtle than the other two by far and is virtually ignored in the west save perhaps in some spiritual or religious practices. It is also one that is challenging to deal with because many people have pretty firm truths in this area and a strong tendency to want their children hold the same ones.
Even though we may have our views children, for the first three years of their lives, have very little capacity to grasp spiritual concepts though they certainly do have the ability to respond to energies related to spirituality. Further, nurturing their spiritual side yields benefits to their mental, emotional and physical bodies. Therefore what is in their best interests is for parents to foster their growth in this area and steer clear of indoctrinating them into any particular belief structure.
We all have many thought structures related to the nature of our existence and who and what we are. Those with a spiritual view, including religious ones, have some form beliefs or answers to questions such as "What is God?", "Is God everything that exists?", "What am I?" and "Am I part of or separate from God?" and so on. Granted many have not done so consciously (4)or the answers are often vague or contradictory and one may not necessarily be aware of or able to articulate them, but we have them. Those without a spiritual view will have their own answers but to a mostly different set of questions. Naturally there is a question/answer set that both or perhaps even all of us share in common.
Our answers to such questions are ours, they are personal and while we can share our thoughts about it they remain uniquely ours. This applies regardless of what formal spiritual or religious school of thought one follows or whether none in particular. At the core of them all is that we possess something a spirit, soul, atman or divine spark or any one of any number of other names.
I do not believe in indoctrinating children in any belief structure though this is standard practice in many homes. It doesn't matter whether a family follows some form or spiritual or religious practice, one that is atheistic or holds some other viewpoint. In the case of religious families, this does not mean one shouldn't take their children to church with them, only that one should not teach their children religious notions as fact.
The same holds for parents who believe that there all that is arises out of matter, that we are consciousness because we have a brain, there is no God nor deities and that what are called psychic gifts are nonsense. I believe in teaching children to think and ask questions so that they may come to their own understanding and develop their own beliefs. After all, they have their own experiences and so may encounter "things" that don't fit with what they have been told. Conflicting beliefs or thoughts will leads to block.
I believe in limiting spiritual development to activities and acts that will enhance their non-rational awareness, help their spirit to flourish rather than start down the road to confusing and often conflicting facts that will become part of their mental house. As hard as it may be parents should avoid telling children that particular beliefs are true or others are false. Instead we talk with them about what we believe and why. We should also be willing to answer questions about our beliefs. This even applies to when they are too young to understand the words for the thought forms are being directed at them and they will react to and integrate them. Parents may be reluctant to do so; however, that is parents issue and if they are not willing to talk about it the child's challenges can be compounded.
Assisting children develop spiritually includes helping their minds develop in a fashion that is clear and contains as few blocks and filters as possible. Thoughts about the nature of our existence affect our ability to access our inner gifts. It is logical that there is only one "truth" and that truth lies behind or underlies religious, scientific or any other form of belief system, whatever those fundamental or universal truths may be. We must always remember that any belief structure of man, be it religious or otherwise, reflects a particular and personal interpretation of whatever "absolute truths" there are. Not only are these interpretations not "the truth", what a child takes away from what we say of such things will be their personal version of their parents one. Ask one hundred people what two plus two is and you will likely get one hundred answers of four. Ask one hundred people to describe God and you will get close to one hundred different answers.
I am not knocking any belief structure, we all have them. What I am saying is that we should try to avoid indoctrinating children in ours before they are able to think about and consider the ideas. That said, it is neigh impossible to avoid it altogether, but that is part of the child's life journey. If we try be as open minded as possible our children will certainly come out with clearer minds as well as more balanced and aware.
So, given this what can we do to foster their spiritual development? Considering that our ego, our rational mind, is what keeps us from accessing our awareness and manifests the issues in our lives the best way to help our children's spiritual development is to help them develop a mind that serves them rather than the other way around. We do this by methods such as those I've mentioned and in addition we can lead by example. By that I am referring to such acts as being mindful when around them (5) or having them nearby when we meditate. The only caveat being that one should be very cautious about having them nearby when we are working with energy or what we are doing could active strong energies. If you are doing these kinds of things make sure to place shielding around them to protect them from the energies you are working with.
Another powerful tool is to work on their spiritual development from the start. Children are very sensitive to energies, even though the physical world is dominant, and if the energies around them are of a higher form (rather than lower or negative) they will react in kind. When we stir higher energies around them, be they of the mental or emotional variety, they are lifted by them and not only do they benefit from the energies themselves, their minds will be exposed to our thoughts and can learn from them. If we are proficient at meditation the kinds of energies we stir are even more beneficial.
For the first year of their lives children have almost no language, though this doesn't mean they are blank slates. Children are sponges and their minds are developing rapidly. They feel energies, hear words and view both actions and outcomes. Their developing mind integrate all aspects of the experience of which it is capable. I say this because the mind cannot integrate all aspects of an experience. Remember, it is the "clothing" of our spirit, but it is not of spirit therefore it cannot be directly aware of it. How it deals with these aspects depends on how the child reacted to the experience but if we have no fear or trepidation it is highly likely the child will react negatively. And through it all the child's mind continues to learns and grows.
With each new experience a child has come new thoughts and these in turn are integrated. In the process the mind continues to take form. By the time they are one years old they generally are able to use one or two words or fragments of words, by eighteen months they have a vocabulary of 5-20 words and are able to follow simple commands and by age two they can name a number of objects, use a couple propositions, create short sentences and respond to simple commands.
You literally observe their mental house taking form, more so by the age of three when they are able to understand pronouns such as I, you and me, have some plurals and use past tenses, can handle three word sentences easily and have a vocabulary of around 1000 words. It is at this time that verbs begin to dominate and they start to be able to relate their experiences, develop simple reasoning skills and can understand most simple questions about their activities or environment. At this stage two things are significant.
First, as a child gets to three their mental house has taken on some form. Children's attention continues to become more discerning. By the time they are three they are able to grasp more ideas, though again they may not be able to make use of them yet. How we speak to them is examined in more detail as are our action in general. It is a critical period of time and we should continue to do as we have done though now we can start to talk to them. All of this is taken in and reacted to, so we must be ready to start answering questions and we must remain honest, clear thinking and unconditional with them.
The other aspect is the development of the concept of "I". It is the result of the development of our mental house, our mind or ego. With it's rise we start to become separate from ourselves and our inborn doors of perception start to close. We want to keep these doors from closing as much as we possibly can, though this is challenging to do. Their ego grows stronger the longer they focus on the physical and ignore that which is beyond the mind, that inner self, when we impose order and structure upon them and when we do not take the time to give them the unconditional nurturing they need.
What we can do about it? We can foster our children's curiosity and imagination through play and fun activities. And not fun for us, but fun for our children even if the activity is not one we may want to engage in for whatever reason. We need to shift our focus to what's in our child's best interest and embrace the experience otherwise we are telling them we do not find what they want to do worthy of our attention. Our lives tend to be highly structured, controlled and routinized, the opposite of what we want for our children. All of these limit curiosity and imagination and stifle creativity which restricts our powerful awareness. Besides, they say our children are our greatest teacher and this is one example of this. They can teach us to reconnect with that innocent aspect of self where order and structure and having reasons for what we do fade away.
Structure and routine are fine in their place, they should not be allowed to be our standard operating practice. Unstructured activities are all that babies and children know. We should not sequester their spirit by forcing them to act in a more structured fashion too soon and for the "wrong reasons". There is a side benefit to this in that we could all use a little less structure and routine in our lives. After all, we do not have to have a reason or goal for everything we do. Structure and routine are the bane of our existence, the more we eliminate from our lives and the less of this we pass on to our children the better.
Another thing is to not jump every time they cry, for example. Of course, we certainly need to make sure something isn't wrong and we should not ignore them; however, there is a difference between giving a baby or child attention and coddling .
When we coddle our children from the moment they are born we are teaching them that crying brings attention. This is not a mental program we want them to start to develop. Not coddling them is not the same as ignoring them. Parents coddle their children not because the child requires it, but because they have an issue and hence a need to do it for any one of a number of possible reasons. We must resist such urges because while they may make us feel better they transfer our issues to our children.
The last piece of the puzzle is being honest, non-judgmental and unconditional towards our children. Children do not know better, they do not have the mind to fully grasp what they are told even if you think they do. Yes, they will react to fear, but that is no different than an adult not putting their hands on a burner. The downside is that these reactions limit their minds because the emotional react becomes associated with the action. There is no place in there for reasoning. Further, their reaction can become so dominant that they freeze or do something that can make things worse. Nor is there any way to know that they are properly associating the problem as you see it with their activity. Fear is a powerful teacher, but understanding is even greater.
Parents need to be in control of their emotional reactions as they cause confusing and create barriers in their minds. We need to ground ourselves, clear our energy and address the actual issue, if there is one. Often the reason for our reaction is we have an issue and not the child. We must be very careful to do this as little as possible because the closeness of our connection and our power means the energy of our reaction will hit them with near full force.
For young child, their parents are their world. Everything a parent does with, to and around them has a profound effect. If parents show an interest in something their children are likely to as well, though this does not always apply as in the case of children with particular gifts. In the latter case the child might pursue them and not follow their parent’s interests so much. When the parents are more or less happy, loving and up-beat, their children are more likely to reflect this by being joyous themselves or laughing or giggling. When a parent is angry, depending on where the anger is directed, a child is likely to become angry themselves or scared or perhaps even defiant and so on. Even if the child does not react they are still going to be affected
The challenge for parents is often their own "stuff" and of course the pressures of the modern world which many take on because they are hard to avoid. It is very hard to balance the needs of a child with one's own personal needs as well those of the household and so on. One can get caught between a child's need for attention and work or some other matter that requires immediate attention as well. Yet, we must try for once a child starts to develop language skills their minds grow by leaps and bounds. This is why it is essential that we are unconditional with them, as this minimizes the potential for them to judge their choices and hence themselves, we show them and where possible teach them good reasoning skills, we are honest around them so that they have fewer conflicting or contradictory thoughts to deal with and we practice mindfulness around them to bring out higher vibratory energies.
There is no greater gift that we can give to our children than unconditional love, guidance and honesty, unselfish attention. While it is important at all ages it is especially important during the years when the foundation and basic structure of their mind and emotional body are taking form, it is its time of becoming.
© 2013 Allan Beveridge
References (*- denotes essays only available to site members of TheTwinPowers.com):