At the center of conscious parenting is the understanding that children have their own purpose, path, and choices to make. They don't come to us so we can train or teach them to be something. Our work as parents is much more subtle and responsive!
My favorite expression of this approach to children is Sweet Honey in the Rock's song 'On Children' based on a chapter of Kahlil Gibran's inspiring book, The Prophet. Please, join me by starting the week reading this beautiful essay and listening to Sweet Honey in the Rock's interpretation!
From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
My life and work are guided by the these core understandings: that all beings (including me!) are capable of transformation and joy, that healthy parenting matters profoundly, and that simple practices can support each of us.