I’ve spent the last ten days traveling with my grandchildren, my daughter, another young mother with her children, and Daniel. It was a working vacation for us, and I can imagine the look of disbelief in your eyes when I say that it was wonderful! Our trip was well-planned (thank you, D!) and leisurely, designed to incorporate the needs of both the children and adults involved … and I’m home with stories to tell about some of the wonderful examples we witnessed of the power of observer consciousness when applied to our relationships with self and others.
We had arranged the trip so that while we three women executed our work-commitments, my husband, “Poppy Daniel,” was in charge of the four children (ages 4 – 8). This arrangement for child-care went beyond mere babysitting. Poppy Daniel has his own formula (and I do mean a specific formula) for dealing with kids that is based on his own vast experience of raising kids, and the kids respond beautifully to him. His training worked so well during our trip that after the first full day, the kids were fondly referring to their time with him as “Poppy Camp,” as in, “Are we doing Poppy Camp again tomorrow?” or, “When can we do Poppy Camp again?”
What’s Poppy’s secret? It’s very simple: Poppy Daniel presents himself to children as a firm, knowing, and clear (no ambiguity here!) grown-up who says what he means and does what he says. At the same time, he shares his vast experience of the world with children by giving them hands on, real-life, experiences because, he says, “every moment with a child is a teaching moment.” And they LOVE it! (All humans naturally enjoy learning until school trains it out of us!)
Being with Poppy is a complete adventure for a kid. He guides them into simple, direct contact with their immediate world in a gentle, patient, and relentlessly consistent way, and children thrive under his watch! I’ve watched it (and learned from it) over our seventeen years together many times! (Perhaps you recall that we have seven children and three grandchildren between us.)
Poppy has taught us that when we provide firm guidelines, when we are clear with our children about what is expected of them (without deviation! In other words, it’s reinforced every time! ), and when we spend time with them teaching, nurturing, and patiently loving them, everyone thrives. As my eight year old grandson says when he hears grown-ups talking about what wonderful children they are, “we do well in life because we’ve been trained.” And he’s right!
Poppy Camp worked so well for us on the road that the participants attending the workshop we were facilitating were even impressed! At one point, the parents in the group proclaimed in unison, “We want to bring OUR children to Poppy Camp!”
What were these parents seeing that prompted such an enthusiastic response? They were witnessing well-behaved, happy, rosy-cheeked, and robust children, who were cheerful and willing to help when asked, and who were at the same time, childlike and playful. There was no whining, no whimpering, no fighting, no complaining, no bullying; their needs for clarity, consistency, and attention were met, and as a result, they were a delight to be with.
Such family harmony IS possible – when we practice embracing Reality, and when we include our children in that practice, we learn to integrate our children into our everyday lives in easy, practical ways so that they come to feel a part of the family team. In this way our little ones learn cooperation and a variety of hands-on skills. (I tell our little ones that everyone who can walk, no matter how young, is a part of the team, and that our mission is to serve. Our job is service to Source.)
We CAN invite our children to accept and participate in Reality so that rather than trying to shape and bend Reality (at huge sacrifices to ourselves) in the effort to try and make them happy, we instead encourage them to accept life within the limits (age-appropriate, commonsense based principles of real life) set for them by Reality and by us, as caring, consistent adults who are invested in their best and highest interest. As a result, our relationship with them becomes less effort, and immeasurably more enjoyable.
May it be so in your home! 🙂
Reality a child’s “reality-of-the-moment.”