One fundamental intention in parenting for peace is to foster trust and hope within your child from the very beginning. When we nurture trust in our children’s souls, it can unfold into an unending arc of confidence — in themselves, in you, in their fellow humans, in Life.
By trust, I mean a calm reliance upon things that you cannot necessarily perceive, much less control. (What a quaint notion in this era when we can perceive pretty much everything by virtue of our many technological devices!)
Insecurity, the antithesis of trust, carries a scent akin to fear — it repels and undermines the connection and collaboration required be a person of peace and innovation. By contrast, trust is the great attractor; it is possible to tame the most powerful forces simply with deep and abiding trust.
But how do we foster trust within our children if we ourselves suffer from a drastic lack of trust? After all, our children learn mostly from how we are rather than things we say. Here are a few tried and true ways to fill your inner reservoir of trust.
Remember What Trust Feels Like
Think back to when your baby was in the womb. You probably (at least for the most part) trusted that things were happening correctly on their own, without your direct tinkering. Could you imagine feeling like you had to do all that intricate maneuvering to build your baby yourself??
If you hadn’t been able to surrender into trust that the microns and molecules forming your child were in competent charge of their own doings, you could have easily gone berserk!
No matter what your child’s age now, you can tap back into that place of power-through-surrender — trust in the hidden inner process of your child’s vibrant, healthy development. Because it is there. The days go on and on, each flowing into the next, and you don’t readily see the transformations that are happening, but trust that the forces of life are working to unfold your child. And yes, sometimes you need boosts of inspiration to continue fanning the faintly glowing embers of your confidence in the notion that this too shall pass (whether it’s colic or potty accidents or sleep droughts, etc.).
Harness Your “Automatic” Trust
Bodymind pioneer Louise Hay reminds us that the level of trusting surrender that we bring to our breathing is the level of trusting surrender we can bring to every aspect of life. You probably don’t fret about, try to plan, or even give a thought to whether there will be a breath waiting to come in each time you exhale!
Just as our lungs, guided by intricate mechanisms in our brainstem, breathe without us controlling them, so too our lives very often breathe along better without our meddling attempts at direction. This is certainly true of parenting, in a paradoxical way: of course we need to make plans, have structures and boundaries in place, and have goals and visions, certainly. And then we let those intensions breathe us — we can “live out of pure trust,” in the words of Rudolf Steiner.
Cultivate This Trust-Building Mindfulness Practice
It builds trust to name the giants on whose shoulders we stand — philosophers, educators, scientists, artists. So many people’s contributions have paved the way for us to thrive here on earth.
Open a refrigerator or turn on the light and mention a gratitude to Edison; turn on the faucet or shower and thank the brilliant engineers of the nineteenth century; flush a toilet and offer a thanks (with a chuckle) to John Crapper, who first mass produced them.
This is a powerful inner practice for parents, and as children enter the school-aged stage of life it is wonderful to involve them in acknowledging these benefactors of humanity.
Image by: Ⅿeagan through its Creative Commons license
About Marcy Axness
I’m the author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the
Next Generation of Peacemakers, and also the adoption
expert on Mothering’s expert panel. I write and speak on
prenatal, child and parent development and I have a private
practice coaching parents-in-progress. I raised two humans,
earned a doctorate, and lived to report back. As a gift to
Mothering readers I’m offering a unique 7-step parenting tool, a
“Quick-Start Guide to Shifting Your Child’s Perplexing, Stuck Behaviors.”