No one has ever said that parenting is easy. Parents of all types and traditions know the strain and frustrations that can come from everyday child raising. No one can blame a parent for messing up from time to time, but we all know it’s still important to find a way to be the parent our children need. Doing this requires parents to live with wisdom, to find a quiet spot in the midst of their frustrations, as well as in the way they listen to their children. By creating a habit of wise, thoughtful parenting, your empathy and wisdom will have a powerful impact on your children.
Much of this perspective is found in the work of Gregory Drambour, a counselor, spiritual healer, and practitioner of the pathways of Shamanism, especially as they pertain to personal healing and wholeness within individuals and families. As a stage 4, cancer survivor and with 36 years sobriety and 30 years guiding clients Drambour incorporates time-distilled truths into the way he teaches high-level parenting, and in the way he helps to guide others.
His work on the way children learn, spiritually and practically, is of special interest to parents who want to give their children the tools they need to live a life of centered wisdom. He identifies the three main ways that children learn, the first two of which are the most significant, and the last a distant third.
- Children Inherit the Inner Emotional Life of their parents. It has been said that parents will be the voice their child hears in their heads throughout adulthood. And while this may be true, it implies that it’s when we speak directly to children that they hear us the most. Kids are incredible observers. They have a front row seat to your lifestyle and spiritual state for their formative years. And as they don’t have a lifetime of wisdom of their own, they tend to download yours. This might sound like a lot of pressure (and in many ways it is!), but it’s also a reminder that maintaining a healthy heart with the counsel of inner wisdom.
- Children Learn From the Life You Model. Much as children observe your inner life, they also see the way you live day in and day out. There are many practical ways that this plays out: they see how you make and spend your money, how you treat others, how much time you spend keeping yourself whole and healthy. These modeled techniques are the tools with which children will learn to build a life of their own.
- Children Learn Through Direct Parenting. Direct parenting relates to the time you spend thinking and doing for your children. When you tell them about the world when you impart ideas and discipline when you help them choose activities and drive them around to soccer practice. Though kids learn in these “Structured” times, they don’t learn nearly as much as the natural, candid moments that fill your daily life. Do well in these settings, but don’t neglect points 1 and 2 with a too-heavy focus on this.
Good techniques include deep, empathic listening to the child, searching to understand their real emotions and desires. It’s easy for parents to listen through a lens of worry, wondering above all how to “fix” the child as if they are a living, breathing problem. It could be said that great parents listen to their children “with nothing else on their minds”. This, like all aspects of wise parenting, takes practice and constant attention to the state of your own “inner child”. You won’t always hit the mark, but even making the effort will mean that you live much more like the parent you truly wish to be.