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What are the important essentials for parenting and the education of a child?

 It was either Mark Twain or Will Rogers who once said "Everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it." Well there is something else that fills many of the conversations all over the world. That something is called, the "Children of the World",

In small meetings, in the chambers of World Organizations, on the stages of political debates, in the streets, or in our homes; we talk about the children, who are going to bed each night hungry. Or those who have been traumatized because of senseless Wars. Others, because of the loss of their parents, due to aids. Or the many Children and Families who take refuge in Refugee centers, where the conditions are sub-human. We talk about the eradication of illiteracy and raising the Standards of Education. About making sure that all children have an equal chance to Education. We talk about the insanity of the "child soldiers". And those who are exploited in "child labor", or sold into slavery and prostitution. And then of course we have all the abused children that are suffering daily.

We give many speeches in glowing terms about the "Children of the World" and how they are the future of World. But like the weather, we talk about the children, and we talk, and talk, as a World Community. Question; are we really concerned, in doing what needs to be done with the problems that children have to face on a day-to-day, a  second by second agenda?

Before the answering of the three questions. It needs to be said, that all is not lost; for there are those who are aware and concerned for the welfare of the Worlds' Children.  Both in the Educational Disciplines and those among the Non-Governmental Organizations. Although this is encouraging, this is not enough "hue and cry". The Peoples of the World need to take to the streets, the dirt roads, the pathways and shout it from the roof tops, throughout all the land; "We are weary of the words, the platitudes' the incessant meetings, the bickering and power struggles and the promises that are never kept".

For those who are sincerely trying to make a difference against the many inequalities. The level of difficulty is daily increasing for the interested, to deal directly with the Educational deficiencies. Partially because running parellel, we must deal and solve the many unpresendented conditions of poverty, food insecurity, inadequate health and sanitation safeguards, and political indifference. Not to mention the unparalleled havoc and problems created by those who are responsible for the suffering of children, in every corner of the planet.

Then we have a boiling cauldron of religious and racial bigotry, power struggles and the rampart greed and corruption, all fueled by ignorance, the blight of all Civilizations. This and other factors are laying waste to one of the Worlds' most precious resources, the "Children of the World." Who are being denied their worth, their potential and their possibilities!

No peoples, no government, or nation can claim any degree of civility, or that of being a "just society. Unless, the POWERS TO BE admits to their lethargy.  And their insipid talking about the appalling problems concerning " the Child" which has existed far to long. AND GET OFF of THE DIME and do something constructive. The" Childs" plight has been on the Table to long and is increasing as we race, where?

Into an avalanche of words, that falls on deaf ears. The rhetoric must be replaced with rapid action. Unless we want the pages of history to read; "The people of the time lacked the courage of conviction and failed to act in the best interests to protect and promote the health and welfare of the "Worlds " children, which they were entrusted with.

It is not enough to wring our hands and repeat
"Ad infinitum." We have to do something".

The following answers to the three previously stated questions are treated separately but they are not to be understood as being separate. For they are part of the whole, for within the three answers, there is an inherent unity. This Unity is true about "all and everything". And this thought should caution us, in our tendency to categorize, classify and catalogue everything as though they were separate.

The last answer pertaining to the family is a personal aside with a few observations. I would point the reader to several other articles on the web site, i.e. {the "Macro Bio" and the other is called "The Question". Both are related to the last question asked.

Elsewhere in my writings I have said that my regrets and misgivings are few but in those few times I would have preferred that things would have been different. But as we know, life is not always in accord with our wishes, desires or wants. And in many cases these are not always in our best interests. Or, they do not coincide with the path one needs to walk.

In this self-examining exercise, I am aware that the mitigating circumstances of my childhood and adolescence had there effect on my thinking and life decisions of later years. Particularly true, as to my inter-personal relationships in marriage. And this effect became even stronger, when faced with an adversarial environment. This "living on the frenges of hell" that I saw, felt and heard in my formative years. Being a witness, as my mother buried herself in a dehumanizing situation. The fights and abusiveness that destroyed any semblance of a "home". All this took its' toll and created within me a resolve and a determination to never allow this scenario to be repeated in my life, nor in a childs' life, if I were to marry and have children.

A marriage where two people are like trains passing in the night. And holding very little in common, while living in a pretence of love and fidelity, could hardly be called, or resemble a communion of unity.

Out of thirty-five years of marriage to four different women, I am convinced that a good marriage; a right marriage is one of balance, harmony and peace. To many believe, this is not possible, but it is possible! If the two people involved in the relationship affirm that this is an individual possibility and attainable. The key to this becoming and being a reality, lies within the growth and evolution of each individual as they come to the self-realization of "who" and "what" they were created, intended to become and be.

Out of this comes; "balance, harmony and peace". Two people living in a relationship cannot begin to understand each other, until they first learn to know and understand themselves. Out of this knowledge and understanding, one moves into becoming and being, all they were meant to Be. And should they be fortunate enough to be given the "gift" of a child or children in the above context. Their "Cup" will surely overflow, as will their childs', or childrens' "Cup".

The answer to the question: as to the important essentials for parenting and the education of the child?

The raising and the teaching of a child. Where does one begin? What can be said that has not been said before? How do we nurture and best equip "our children" for the known challenges and the unknown, yet to come. There are many voices out there; factions, theories, power struggles with their "hidden agenda", experts and consultants. And yet; parents and educators still lack the needed wisdom to devise and implement, so all children of the world can reach their own highest potential and be that which they were created to be.

From a pragmatic perspective, what might we say? Well, there is a lot one could say. For there are many theories and methodologies; battle lines are drawn. But as the waves are not the ocean, neither are; the ways, means or instruments the essence of parenting and teaching.

Are the theories important? Are there certain basic skills and techniques to help in the learning process? Is there a need to understand the developmental stages of a child? Do we need to learn "how,"to learn and pass this on.

A big "yes", to all the above.. How much knowledge does a parent or an educator need to bring out the best, the more excellent? Should excellence be the goal of parenting and teaching? Who is the final Evaluator, on how well a parent, or parents and a teacher; teaches? And who sets the standards? Will we every come to a consensus as to "the way" a child should go? I hope not! But this does not mean that certain structural methodologies and basics should not be put in place, while at the same time, we must not become inflexible. "The cure must fit the disease."

In our search, to do right by the child and his/her education. We must always keep in mind, there are exceptions, as we structure for the majority. We have the "gifted child", the less gifted, the impaired, those who have been traumatized and abused,; physically and mentally. What do we do for them?

How can parenting and teaching nurture and guide a child, to that point where they want to learn to learn, making it a lifetime acquision and quest?.

Let us start with a simple affirmation that needs to be fully understood and remembered by both parent and teacher. But it should not stop here, everyone needs to search out its meaning and relevance.

It is not what is taught.
But rather what is caught.

It is not so much what we say, as much, as how we say it. Somewhere along the way in our growth process, there needs to be an emphasis shift from speaking the "word" to putting those words we have gleaned as important into doing. Which reminds me of a quote;

"Actions speak so loud, that it is difficult
To hear what is being said"

Right action is preceded by self-knowledge, becoming and being the "word". That word or words which we have decided to be necessary in reaching a posture of balance, harmony and peace. A "Oneness" with "all and everything".

A definition becomes a definition, when "we" become the definitive definition of those words that we hold to be Self-evident and true. In these days of "hype", there is a need for a personal moratorium to be given; a due consideration, on the economy and  clarification of the incessent babble of words that fills the air.

A daily process of selection, of discrimination as to what words, thoughts or impressions, we will ingest, to become our own "flesh and blood". which is integral not only to the health of our own body, mind and spirit. But for the greater communities in which we move and share in. We should not allow anyone or anything externally to choose the words we wish to "incarnate. We are responsible to investigate, inquire, question, to seek and search out those "words" and "impressions." that will lead us out of the far country, back to our rightful heritage of "unity consciousness".

It is not accidental that history has recorded the many diverse searchings of the human species, as to our origins and the meaning of the "gift of life". For within all the known religions, {primitive or the sophisticated}, myths, creeds, rituals and ecclesiastical murmurings, there has been three questions waiting in the wings to be addressed; "Who am I"? Why am I here "? And "Where am I going"?

It is in the answering of these three quintessential questions, along with the process of selection and the infusion of those words that enhance and energize the search for completion, a"wholeness". I hold these things to be the beginning and the means to "becoming and being", all we were intended to be.

This selection and "infusion" leads to a posturing, a subtle change in the materiality of the "mind, body and spirit". Some call it a "charisma", others an "aura", a presence or a "transfiguration". Here again, it is not the descriptive word that is important. It is that "something" one senses, feels or intuits. That "something" that emanates, fills the air, the space and the recipient. In that brief moment of "en-light-en-ment"; what was dark becomes light, what was false becomes truth, what was unreal becomes real. For lack of a better word, we sense a "presence", it fills the "Now". In that moment, to use a metaphor: truth becomes written on the heart".

When the speaker of the "word" or "words, whether a parent, an educator, friend,, an associate, lover or spouse, becomes that which they speak. Then the fusion just "is". In that moment the "spirit is caught". In this "happening, we know, we know. We know because the speaker has become the "definitive definition" of the "word" which was spoken. He or she not only "walks the talk". But stands in the Light.

How does this happen, this en-light-enment? Little is known or rather the words we have to explain this phenomenon are inadequate but many are the witnesses" to the fact". In most cases this event is a fleeting, momentary occurrence while at other times, for some, it is more frequent.. This en-light-enment or as some refer to as an "awakening" comes in the "blink of an eye" while for others the journey is arduous. It is suspected that the acquisition of "being in the light" is quickened if one is in earnest, wholly committed in "mind, body and spirit". Once the task is taken, there is no looking back. A passion and a resolve is needed if one is to stand "in the light". Or to express it differently, one needs to ceaselessly "knock, ask and seek". And en-light-enment will be given. The "way back" must be a conscious personal choice and a conscious effort. In this; no one can choose for another.

Back to this "catching of the spirit". A good part of what we learn is "caught"; the habits and behavior, we have acquired. Our personalities; how we think, speak, move and approach life. Also our likes and dislikes, our wants and desires, along with our anxieties, doubts and fears. Whether we will admit it or not, we have been influenced consciously and unconsciously by others; parents, teachers, mentors, peers, friends, associates and "the rich and famous". Plus the fact, that we as individuals are great imitators, we copy and emulate manners, traits, habits and many other nuances. We do what is fashionable or the "norm" or in "keeping up with the Jones'es". This mirroring begins in the cradle and follows us all through life. The young observe the old. The child watches the adult as to "how" they think, act and react. How "word" and "action" compliment or oppose each other. Once a child learns that an adult speaks with "forked tongue". The adults' words lose their import and vitality. Here there is a much deeper nuance involved. A parent, a teacher or a mentor without "soul" to borrow from the music industry, should not be surprised that, their words lack the power to inspire and enhance. The adage; "that one cannot give, what one does not have". Or if the well is dry one cannot give to the thirsty, is applicable here.

The developing child is bombarded day in and day out, all the way into adulthood with a multiplicity of external images, words and impressions. Then there are those pressures from the parents, peers, teachers and other adult authorities that seem never ending. Within this context, an immature "human nature" seeks an easy way out. And asks; "who can I copy? Who can I emulate? I hope this does not appear to be to simplistic, because the nurturing and the education of a young mind is serious business. And must not be taken lightly. Adults who have children, have no greater or nobler task than the nourishing of the young. For the World and all future generations will be for the better or the worse. In the light, of how well we perform as "guiding lights" in the sacred tasks of  parenting and the teaching of the young.

Let me end with a personal note about the parenting I received. I will try not to repeat what I have written in the "Macro Bio" Except to mention that interspersed in the "nightmarish" events of my childhood there were certain values and lessons, which were given by my mother. That made a lasting impression; "I caught the spirit". I do not know where or how she received her wisdom, although she was an avid reader. Nor, do I fully understand after all these years. How the wisdom she possessed did not alleviate her many sufferings? But what I have learned in 80 plus years is that appearances cannot always be construed as Reality. And that, which happens here in time and space is  temporary, it is not forever. "We are in the world but not of it ". We are of "That" which "just is". "That" which has no beginning or end, for it is both. There is no duality.

Discipline and consistency comprised the foundation of my mothers' parenting. I always knew where I stood. "No" was always "No", it wasn't "yes" the next second. If she promised something, she never broke her promise. If she said a certain time, it was that time. If she said she would, she did. You could count on it. Out of this approach I felt "secure" even in the midst of turmoil. She also taught levels of limit, I knew what was acceptable in her eyes. As I grew, she adjusted the limits. And I can still remember the words, when I would say: "but Billy's mother said "yes". Her reply; "I am not Billys mother, I am your mother; who loves you. My responsibility is to teach you to be responsible in thought, word and deed. To choose the best, among the many alternatives". And, until I know or feel that you are responsible. My decisions are to be obeyed". "When you leave and go out on your own. You will have to decide, what is the best, the better and the more excellent for you, as each situation arises".

Her belief in consistency overflowed into other areas of her life. She understood that personal habits were important. They could benefit or harm not only the person themselves but have a lasting effect on others. This became evident to me later on in life, as I remembered how she kept house and scheduled her day. She was not a perfectionist, but she was orderly. Meal times and bedtime were not haphazard. Breakfast was at seven, lunch at noon and dinner 6:30 in the evening, she never wavered. As I grew older and observed other children and their parents, as to how they lived and were taught or not taught. I understood my mother's discipline for me was out of love and concern. She was not doing it for herself; she was doing it for my benefit. It was also obvious that the habits and the affirmations, she had instilled were working proofs, as my confidence and small successes increased throughout my formative years.

My interests were many and my mother encouraged all of them. It was her belief that a child should experience as many things as possible. And out of this process, learn to discriminate as to what is important and that which is not so important. Her methods were really very simple. She nourished the curiosity which I seemed to have had in an over-abundance. By encouraging me to always ask questions about anything and everything. I cannot remember her ever saying; "I am to busy ". She was interested in my learning the "connectiveness" of all things. Early on, I was taught to observe and ask "why"? And it felt "right" for me.

I mentioned in the beginning, that my mother instilled certain affirmations within me. To be more precise, the substantive "essence" was within, as it had always been. She only seconded the motion. The affirmations and the power "awakened" the known and set the direction to start my journey back.

Here are but a few of the injuctions, they were usually served up with my breakfast or sometimes in the evening.

+ Do not start something, unless you are going to finish it.

+ If you think something is impossible for you to do. You will never know if it is impossible unless you try it.

+ Anything worth doing is worth doing well. But do not stop doing.

+ When you decide to learn something, learn to do it well. Do it till you are better at it. When you become better. Try to be the best you can be. And when you are the best you can be. Remember you are just beginning. Excellence is your goal.

+ Do not despair in failure. Greet it as a friend, a guide. For within failure are the seeds to success?

+ There are times when the "good" is "bad" and the "bad" is "good". The challenge is to know when these times arrive. And what we will do with this paradox.

+ Early to bed and early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.

+ Always remenber; whatever it is: a crisis, a circumstance or a difficult situation. "This too shall pass".

 The power of the word, never sell it short. As important as the selection of the word or words are. It is how one says the word, is the word. Herein lies the POWER. It is the person behind, in front and around the word or words. It is in the way one looks, stands, sits, walks and exemplifies a presence, a power. Or we could say, it is ones' state of being. That can engender, energize and give impact to the spoken word.

(Wuzhou, China 10/2001)


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