Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Spiritual Parent


Parenting is hard work.  That statement is certainly no surprise to someone who is, or has been, an active, connected parent.  Or has been an engaged member of the collective community with some partial responsibility for the raising of a child.

It is hard because every child is a unique human being, and therefore requires a teaching approach that corresponds to that uniqueness.  Even if certain common outcomes across such diversity are deemed desirable by society.

It is hard because parent and child, teacher and student, are both moving targets.  The child is continually growing, changing, maturing, moving through new experiences – all of which require continually modified interactions.  But the parent, in spite of the appearance of being the knowing and experienced one, is also continually growing, changing, maturing, moving through new experiences –  requiring decisions to be continually made from an ever-changing knowledge base.  Both parent and child are seeing life anew every day.  So the parent must constantly adapt from being a changing teacher to also being a changing student.  Lessons are re-formed each day.  Yesterday’s Lesson is not today’s Lesson.

It is hard because the quantity and content of interaction between parent and child diminishes over the lifetimes of each.  Starting from total, all-consuming interaction with an infant, each year that interplay is reduced as the child becomes more independent and self-sufficient.  The words from the parent become more muted as the child finds its own voice.  The responsibility for that gradual disengagement lies with the parent, both in quantity and the content chosen for discussion.  The pacing of disengagement is crucial, yet the measurement of a parent’s effectiveness in this can only be determined well after the fact.

It is hard because the child needs guidance from the parent.  But simply telling the child to “do this” is not guidance; that only creates a rote human being unable to think and decide on its own.  It is hard because the child needs honest assessment, but constant judgment and criticism neuters the child’s sense of worth and self-assuredness.  How easily good intentions can get lost in the forest of a parent’s many thoughts and actions.

It is hard because we are tempted by reflex to think and act from our own belief system and our own vision for the child’s eventual outcomes.  Yet our true parental Charge is to help the child discover its own belief system and reach his/her own outcomes, regardless of how much or little it may parallel our life.  We are entrusted to assist a brand new standalone life, not to have a second chance at reliving our own life.

It is hard because it requires infinite patience and unshakable love, regardless of the child’s outcomes.  Yet it also requires unclouded objectivity to see those outcomes clearly and unadorned through unblinded lenses.  “Support” and “concurrence” remain two distinctly different interactions between parent and child.

This is the parent we ideally seek to model.  But it is the parent God already is.  Not the parent of our bodies teaching us life survival skills; that is the job of our human parents.  God is the parent of our spirit, that true essence of our genuine and transcendent Self.  To that Self, God brings tailored teachings as we transition to different phases of our life; gradually withdraws engagement with us as we grow, though never fully leaving us; continually guides us and does not dictate to us, while expecting us to draw our own conclusions and then to test and act upon those.  God does so for each of us individually in our lifetime; for us as a collective, maturing humanity of civilization over centuries.  God does all of this with unbreakable love and patience, while being always available and alongside of us.  It is a spiritual relationship, a union, such that as we each exist independently, so we also exist interdependently.  The line that separates us with God and among each other is infinitesimally minute.

The relationship between God and the spiritual child never ends.  It is a relationship that we are obligated to continually explore, perfect, nurture and draw upon.  For our life, our very existence, are inseparable from God.  To fulfill that relationship obligates both God and us to perform our respective roles in that mutual connection.  For in the end, it is this relationship that transcends all of our daily human endeavors.  It is this relationship that matters most of all.

© 2015   Randy Bell                 www.OurSpiritualWay.blogspot.com

No comments: