[NOTE: The following essay is for everyone who realizes the sacred responsibility that comes with raising children. It is a companion to my book, I Am My Body, NOT!, and will be presented in 6 parts.]
On Loving With Love, Not Fear
It is perhaps the most special time of our lives; a time of ultimate innocence, implicit trust and faith, and utter dependency. Childhood is that time of life when magic carpets can silently whisk you to exotic lands, and you don’t need a seat belt. Pigs and toasters can indeed fly. And, while being towed by a group of subsonic flying reindeer and sleigh, a man called various names, including Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, and Santa Claus, can carry enough toys and gifts for an entire world of young believers, and make special deliveries to kids in twenty-four time zones, on time, and in a single night.
Only a child could believe in such things. And only children do. They don’t enter the world with such beliefs. Children embrace ideas and beliefs as they are passed to them from people they love and depend on, like you and me.
As wonderful as it can be to be a child, it is that much more important being someone who influences children, especially parents and teachers. Each day, we can and do teach them: with love, or with fear.
Children do not come into the world feeling superior or inferior to others. They do not inherently “like” or “dislike” others based on someone else’s “differentness” to them. Naturally open and inquisitive, they must and will of necessity, take in and absorb all information that comes to their attention. They cannot, and should not discriminate too early. It is therefore incumbent upon us to discriminate on their behalf with respect to the kind and quality of information, attitudes, and beliefs that we “feed” to them.
If the ideas that we feed children are fear laden, it will be as garbage to their mind and emotions, affecting their growth into sovereign human beings, and even the awareness of their sovereignty. To them, whatever we feed them will be gospel. Therefore, we must be aware of what we fear, and to what extent we are passing it on, consciously or unconsciously, to our children.
How we go about teaching children lovingly, but without fear is the question at hand. There will be times to step forward, times to stand still, and times to step back throughout their lives. Yet how do we teach them to be cautious without causing them to shut down their minds and squelch their imaginations?