The most important question for a parent is: How do you define success?
Typically we equate success for children with getting straight A’s, or excelling at sport or accomplishing any number of extrinsic things of value. But we often negate the intrinsic qualities that define success in the process. Whether you speak it out loud or not, how you define success is being imprinted on your child through the environment in which you create for them and the way you relate to them.
When I refer to success in this manner what I mean is providing an environment for a child to play, grow and self actualize. Consider the notion that your role as a parent is to watch the naturally unfolding brilliance of your child and then engage it and nurture it.
Conscious parenting is all about relationships and learning to trust ourselves and our children. It’s recognizing you’re enough and have all you need and it’s ok not to have the answers. By using inquiry and questions in conversations you allow your child to find their answers. It’s more meaningful and resonating when we can come to conclusions and form perspectives by voicing them ourselves.
Parenting in this case is really the watching and unfolding of awareness. Children are not so much conscious of what you do, so much as imprinted by what you do. We see this when ducklings are born and they automatically begin walking behind their mother. This is imprinting. Becoming aware of your actions is not so much about what you say, but rather what you do and who you are that informs your children about how show up in the world.
5 ways model success for your child.
1. Self Care
Being human includes dimensions of mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and even financial areas. How you feed and nourish yourself, exercise, how much time you spend in nature, are all areas where you can become attentive to your self care. How you take care of yourself and the awareness and noticing you bring to each moment drastically affects your day and those around you. Self care is about being present with yourself and bringing forth your own positive energy. Being aware is then tracing it back to where it comes from and coming to know and care for yourself better.
2. Your Core Values
Like fingerprints, each of us is a unique being. That uniqueness is an innate genius living within each of us. The discovery of that genius or inner essence as I like to call it, unfolds as we go through life and when we align with it, we are living in harmony with our core values. How you bring forth your own “inner essence” to your life impacts your actions and decisions which in turn impacts your environment and those around you.
3. Your Decision Making Process
The decisions from what you eat, what you drink to how you interact with others, the movies you watch, what you buy and why, even how you spend your time affect the way you live. When you make decisions, even simple ones, based on an intention linked to your core values you begin to live the way you truly want to live your life.
Much of our decision making is not aligned with core values but instead it’s about pleasing other people; saying yes when we really want to say no. By becoming aware of your decisions about how you spend your time and money, you can discern if they’re based on fear or love.
In the book The Soul of Money: Reclaiming Our Inner Resources, Lynne Twist talks about how parents often try and show their kids love by buying them lots of stuff. The reasoning behind it generally goes like this: I didn’t spend much time with my kid this week so I’ll get them that new video game because that’s what my kid likes. Ultimately it’s not really about the stuff, it’s about time spent together (or not), which is your decision.
4. Your Social Circle
As America’s foremost authority on success, world-renowned business philosopher and a recognized legend in the fields of motivation and personal achievement, Jim Rohn’s said: We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Your social circle is everyone you spend time with, your friends, colleagues, family, the works.
The quality of conversations you are having with and around your kids (especially at the dinner table) can affect how they see themselves. Conversations like these are so powerful as they allow the kids to reveal our own innate wisdom.
By showing up without an agenda and creating space for engagement, you offer a place for people to be heard and seen. When your kids can be heard and seen as they are, they can discover how their own mind works when voicing their own thoughts.
5. Your Perspective
How do you perceive your role as a parent? Consider whether it’s conscious in the moment parenting, or or are you unconsciously repeating patterns from your own childhood experience? Do you witness your child as a unique being unfolding their genius or do you view him/her as empty and your job is to fill them up and make them in your own image?
As our children’s mentors we need to become aware and present of what we are doing. There is so much value in taking time to observe yourself and how you’re creating the relationship with your child. How do you build joy and share that joy with one another?
Get curious as you observe your child. You’re learning together in every moment of parenting. Wisdom truly knows no age. As you keep unfolding your own awareness and become present of your own being, you create the space for your child to do the same.