One of the best things we can teach our children is something that you won’t find in any mainstream curriculum. What I’m speaking of is the importance of learning to observe our minds, to listen to what the mind is saying or pushing us to do in any given moment. This is called self-observation. I’ve mentioned it before in several other blog posts.
The world knows little of this, yet it is the most important and valuable thing in Life because without self-observation, we will just continue to repeat old patterns that take us nowhere but around and around and around again.
I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating that the most important and valuable thing in Life is something that is rarely spoken or heard of in this world. It’s like we were put on this earth to seek out this lost treasure.
I once cared for a little boy who absolutely refused to learn anything new. He didn’t want to learn to draw, to take Karate lessons, or to even to write his name. After many discussions with this child, it came to light that there was a fear of failure so he said that he didn’t even want to try.
How can a 6- year old child can be afraid of failure? Isn’t that quite astounding to you? Without observing what our minds are telling us, we simply do, say and feel what it tells us to do, say and feel. We therefore live an automatic life with a past that just perpetuates itself moment to moment, because what is speaking to us comes from the past.
Haven’t any of you experienced the contradictions in your own mind? For instance, let’s say you wanted to take ballet lessons that you never did as a child. The moment a thought comes to your mind such as “I’d really like to take ballet lessons”, immediately on the heels of such a thought comes a litany of reasons and justifications by the mind as to why you should or shouldn’t take the lessons. Then, once the decision is made to either take the lesson or not, immediately after that decision is made comes the litany of thoughts from that same mind that then try to get you to second guess that decision.
Can you see the importance of observing this destructive inner dialogue?
We can help our children so much when we teach them self-observation. Through self-observation, they can learn to see these contradictions for what they are, something in us that wants to keep us bound and imprisoned in old beliefs that have nothing to do with the truth of ourselves and our unlimited possibilities.
We can teach our children (and ourselves) to go against those voices that hold us captive in fear. That 6-year old child that I spoke of earlier, was held captive by those voices which most likely said something such as “Don’t dare try karate, you won’t be able to learn that. You will look stupid if you’re the only one in the class that won’t be able to do it.” When one agrees to listen to those voices, it strengthens the fear inside themselves, because those voices ARE the voice of fear itself.
When we learn to self-observe, we start to see the mind for what it is, pretty darn predictable. It never says or does anything new. It’s job is to keep up busy listening to it. It doesn’t want us to be present and guided by the moment because the mind can’t live there. The past can’t live in the present moment.
If that 6-year old boy agreed to go against those voices and take the karate lessons, that predictable mind would certainly come in after the decision was made and it would try to have him second guess that decision. As well, if he started to struggle during those lessons, it would predictably come in and say “See, you shouldn’t have signed up for these classes.” When we practice self-observation, we start to realize those voices for what they are, self-sabotaging ones.
Of utmost importance as well, the earlier we can share with our child that there is no such thing as failure, the more willing they will be to try new things. Failure is an old, borrowed belief. How can it be considered failure when a person tries and does the very best that they are able to do without giving up when it becomes difficult? That’s not failure, that’s part of the process of learning.
Once we’ve reached a point where it appears that we can’t take something any further, the moment will guide us, as it always does, if we remain in the moment with that limitation and don’t give up.
Can you see the infinite possibilities for a child in having this understanding? History (the past) has always been a required part of a school’s curriculum, but teaching self-observation is the only way to see how the past just continues to repeat itself, just in different form.
I vote for a new curriculum to include “Self-Observation” to put the past to rest.
Exercise for the Week: Ask your child if they are afraid of trying something new. Ask them what it is. Share with them this information. There’s no such thing as failure. Missing the mark (not doing as well as I wish I could do) is part of learning to do what you wish to do better.
Image Courtesy of: https://pixabay.com/photos/eye-girl-blue-face-close-up-hair-3795205/