Parents! The future of humanity is in your hands. No pressure though!
When we look around us at the state of the world it can seem pretty depressing. The endless stream of negative news can make us give up hope on the future.
Much of what is wrong with the state of the world comes from negative emotions. Fear, hate, and greed, have created a world where the resources of the many are sucked dry to benefit the few. If you examine the emotional lives of the people in power it isn’t hard to see that a lot of them aren’t leading from a place of deep compassion for their fellow human beings. The big changes that are needed to create a more peaceful world just aren’t happening.
But perhaps one day they will. It was reading this blog post by Wendy Andrews that reminded me that the single post important step to creating a more peaceful world is to parent with love and compassion.
With Hand in Hand Parenting I learnt that children are naturally good, loving and co-operative and when their behaviour gets challenging, it’s because they are experiencing challenging emotions. So when we look at politicians whose behaviour is questionable, (mentioning no names!!) it’s highly likely that they are acting out hurt feelings from their childhood. This is not to make excuses for the behaviour of certain leaders, but to simply show that if we want to change the world we have to radically change the way we parent. Simply repeating the way the previous generation parented won’t work. In the UK 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. That’s a lot of hurt people who aren’t able to live their lives to the full.
I believe that the single most powerful thing we can do to heal the next generation is to listen to tears. This is the one thing glaringly missing from most of our childhoods. That our parents ignored, or avoided, distracted, or shamed or punished us, from crying. That we have done the same many times, because it seems like an instinct to repeat the parenting we experienced.
We need to listen to our children’s tears, and their laughter too! We need to undo our cultural conditioning to stop or avoid these tears. We also need to be honest with ourselves about our own feelings, and how they interfere with us being the parents we want to be. When we do this we can build a stronger, more compassionate generation, who aren’t weighed down with emotional baggage.
And as I was out walking I remembered the Native American story of the Rainbow Warriors that says that “when the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.”
I like to think that when we parent peacefully we are building this tribe of warriors who see beyond colour and class, and join together.
As Mother Teresa said, ”What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” And remember when you do so to listen to tears.
For more information read my blog post, The Healing Power Of Tears, and Patty Wipfler’s article, Inoculating your Child Against Racism. You can learn more about listening to tears in my book Tears Heal: How to listen to our children