Monthly Archives: March 2013

ON PARENTING IN 2013

The sculpting begins on day one.  From the very first moments of a child’s life they are building a framework for how to handle situations.  Even though they do not understand words or have concepts of what we are talking about as parents, they are indeed identifying with the energy and harshness that we are putting out.  I know so many parents who feel, or at least behave, as if their children couldn’t learn or emulate their language or actions at this point, so it’s still okay to hang on to their adolescence.  Your child is putty in your dangerous hands from day one.  You know you have held him or her while you were angry and thought later that you could have been more gentle, not that you were rough with them, only that you later remembered they are so little and innocent, and precious, and wish you could have been more soothing and less moving.  Even a hard heart has these feelings, even if the person thinks they have no heart at all.  That is why we must take seriously the notion of parental responsibility from day one.  The sculpting begins on day one.  From the very first moments of life they are already learning the kind of person to be.  They are learning what normal loudness a voice is, and how much variation in a voice is normal.  If harsh movements and harsh sounds often occur together, they begin connecting the two.  Raising a child in the year 2013 is the honor of a lifetime.  You have the chance to be aware at day one that your actions are creating the capacity for greatness in your child and no generation before us has ever spread that message for the greater consumption, I have ever found.

What a tremendous burden to bear, but what a tremendous gift. One of your biggest contributions to the world is the person you raise your child to be.  All great men and women are remembered for their accomplishments, and all will tell you that they could not have done so without the help of others.  We cannot all be very great men and women, but all those male and female titans of our communities and society overall are supported by amazing people.  The way to create more very great, very good men and women is to raise a generation trained to seek them out or become one themselves.  It is a privilege and an honor to serve mankind in the pursuit of creating young people who exercise enough of their potential to increase the pool of true greatness in the world. I believe every single child has the capacity for greatness at the moment of conception, and we have discounted that our actions and emotions after conception and through infancy may vastly impact the attitudes and personhood of our children later in life.  From the instant of conception there is foundational activity in the unborn child.  If you believe that people are made of energy, then you already know or need to realize that your energy is affecting the energy of the child whether that child is inside you, or next to you in bed, or in the car, only a foot or two away.  If you do not believe people are literally made of energy, I recommend some rudimentary physics lessons.

Sculpting begins on day one.  Remembering that it is an honor to instruct, and love, and guide, and praise, and correct, and open the mind of your child.  To truly open the mind, a person’s mind must be able to see differing philosophies of life with neither fear nor longing, and confidently remain in the place from which their goodness flows.  The world will tempt your child to do things you will not want your child to do at the age when the tempting begins.   The constancy of your love will determine how resilient they are to the awful temptations in the world.

When language becomes commonplace in a child’s life, the opportunities for learning expand by factors immediately.  Everything gets a name and a folder for experiences.  Everything gets a touch entry, a smell entry, a visual entry, sometimes a sound entry, and more often than is appropriate a taste entry.  We as parents cannot wait for some arbitrary number of years as deemed by the state for learning to begin.  Sculpting begins on day one, the sculpting of their energy and personhood.  Instruction begins on day two, not teaching so much as introductions to their new world, and each moment builds on its last.  Intense learning is happening by the 6th month. Exponential learning is happening at the one year mark. It’s easy to think that because your child cannot communicate words back to you, that he is not learning how to interact with the world.  Watch a seated 6-month old child watching a person in the act of doing something.  It doesn’t matter the banality of the something, only the amount of focus that the doer has, and provided it is a fairly low stimulation moment for the child, and he or she will literally sway with amazement.  Remember for a moment how vividly you can recall moments in your life where you would accept an accounting of it as having “stared in wonder.”  You know you can remember in great detail those exhilarating events.  The first year of your life, you experience this feeling many, many times a day.  From realizing you can move your foot a certain way, to feeling what it feels like to touch your own elbows or feet or ears, every moment is a first few times.  If you are accomplished at something, take music, you have likely forgotten countless times you have played music after having become proficient, but you know you can still remember exactly what it was like when you first began the journey.  Everything is a first beginning, and they are learning how the world should work from the moment they open their eyes.

Never forget however, that there is only so much of how a person grows up to be that you can lay at your own feet.  Fate, luck or its lack, and the temptress that is the world, have squandered many chances for greatness, or even chances for goodness.  In the face of that, what an honor to try and build the bulwark around your sons’ and daughters’ goodness such that if they choose or allow themselves to be led astray, you can rest in peace that you have done your absolute best.

It is this honor, the honor to serve mankind, the honor to help move us forward that compels us to begin the societal march back toward responsibility, self-discipline, honor, loyalty, humility, honesty, and respect.  We all know to be true that it is not a political statement to say that gratuitous sex, drugs, and all around immorality in our society are at an unacceptably high level.  This will only change on a societal level when another generation, an even greater generation of transformative energies than those in the 60’s and 70’s, lead a movement toward energetically responsible parenting, to treating the act of raising a child as one of the highest honors and privileges that a human being can experience.  If raising a family was more important to society, you would see a shift away from the passé acceptance of abortion.  You would replace the negative act of condemnation and judgement with the positive act of believing in something greater.  The problem with opposing any idea is that you are giving it energy by offering your opposition.  The real solution is offering something better than the idea you are opposing.  Fight the bully and someone gets punched, but inspire the bully and you have offered something better.  Increased belief in the sanctity of parenting, equals a decrease in the number of times that people choose abortion for its convenience over the oxcart of responsibility that is parenting.

Your children are your charge.  You do them no service by always giving them what they want.  The world exists and functions based upon a set of golden rules.  Like the master painter, who has spent a lifetime learning the rules, can break them in such a way as to take your breath away, so too does the human only have the freedom to transcend from normal into greatness when he has mastered the rules.  If you do not teach your child the rules, he or she may be forever doomed to break them and exist in the trap of consequences that follow.

The child that never learns to speak with respect, will never learn to earn it. He may demand it but won’t understand the distinction.  The child that never learns patience, will be forever irritable on some level and consistently without good reason.  The child that never learns charity, will be forever fearful of loss.  The child that never learns restraint, will never fill the hole inside of them with any substance.  The child that never learns that all people worship, will most often fall into the bitter trap of worshipping themselves.

The child who extends respect, will earn it wherever he goes.  The patient child will unknowingly and happily recruit friends who are always looking for people that could be labeled ‘easy going,’ because they’re always the best friends to have.  The thoughtful child will be most often grateful for what they have.  The child who learns to control their temper will later do a far better job of controlling their desires or urges or cravings, for all are simply manifestations of our most base and carnal energy.  For the child who learns to see the hand of God in every wondrous detail, life will be spent asking the kinds of questions that matter.

Take pride if you are raising a child in the year 2013.  You are a pioneer in a familiar, yet bravely-new world, and your child’s life is history in the making.

TEARS IN THE FABRIC

Last night, as I stretched out in bed to get comfortable between my oldest and favorite sheets, my big toe clawed a gash down the middle of the top sheet.  These sheets were a splurge when I was a single man renting his first apartment back in the year 2001 when I had just finished my 6 year tour in the US Navy and had no real savings on which to depend.  Now, after over a decade of married years, we’ve had lots and lots of sheet sets, all kinds of fabric ranging from flannel to that awful sateen that makes me feel like I’m sleeping in someone else’s sweat suit.  These have always been the best, and I destroyed them with my velociraptor toenails.

More aptly, I discovered the fabric has been washed that unknowable number of times and is now disintegrating, a fact learned only after poking more holes in it with my finger while mumbling a string of curses alternating between remorse and disbelief. It sounds weird to say that it would make my heart heavy to lose something so benign and ubiquitous as a set of sheets, but it does.  I couldn’t bear to strip the bed that very night, being so enamored of them for so long and so I slept one last time in that embrace that was always the perfect blend of insulation and ventilation, and I dreamt.

Happy moments, distant friends, leaping through fields, my daughters running and laughing…

When I woke, I lay still for a moment, relishing that idyllic sheet sandwich, and then swung my foot out of bed to rise for another exciting day of life.  As I did so, I caught that hole again expanding it three fold, and the sound of tearing fabric has been with me ever since.

I see a tear in the very fabric of our society.  I love what America once represented, and I am a lover of liberty.  Where once we took pride providing for our family, many leave that honor to the state entirely.  Where once we took pride in attention to detail and effort and diligence, now we seek to get the most for the least, and take pride in how cheaply we gather more possessions.  Where debt was once an abhorrence, now it is a prescription written to almost all by society as we enter adulthood.  Where family values once came from the family, morals now come from Must See TV.

Everywhere I look I see tears in the fabric and I can’t help but wonder, are we the sheets, held together only by the strongest of threads but ultimately doomed to fall apart?  Has our worth been laundered that unknowable number of times?  Have our traditions been scrubbed out of the zeitgeist and left us such a fragile weaving that any pressure at all means collapse?

How do you convince a generation raised to mock the worshipers of God, that they too worship, only at the much darker altar of the alimighty self?  When you are taught from birth that what feels good to you is good for you, how then will you ever arrive willingly at the necessary place of personal growth that can only be found on the other side of painful self-examination?

Christians call this the spiritual walk: realizing how rotten and sinful you are to the core, repenting, and living for eternity’s sake.   Chesterton once wrote “you know you’re at your worst, when you’re convinced deep down you really are a good person.” Again I posit, when your sake is the only sake, and vast swaths of societal fabric live only for their own sake, how can the unraveling of society be anything but certain?

We are a people in dire need of weavers.  We have always had the thread of absolute truth, but we have forgotten how to weave.

I miss my sheets already.