Friday, March 26, 2010

Discipline Is an Act of Love

Today, I want to send you all out there a quote from my spiritual teacher where he describes discipline as an act of love.

" The secret with children, as with all human beings, is to allow them to stay Happy, ecstatic, full of true pleasure. If you can find the native pealsure, or the free attention, in a child then you can redirect him or her. But if you confront the aberration that is present in the moment of any dramatization, the child will not come out of it, because he or she has a ritual to perform. It is the same with everybody.
Therefore, the secret of living is to remain in a state of pleasure, or pleasurable Oneness. That is your responsibility. The secret of living with others is to locate the free attention and essential pleasure in them and in yourself and redirect them to their sanity by that means."

This is of course not easy because we very often find it very difficult to be happy in that way ourselves! This is the art then and this is why I am so grateful to spend time with children. It somehow reminds me of what is described above. It is easier with children to remind them of that happiness and not let them indulge in their drama, then it is to do with adults. Children can just as easily forget to dramatize as they can forget to be happy. They are naturally a happy life sign!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another Sweet Conversation with a 5 Year Old.

Here is another very sweet conversation. This was with Isabel who was 5 at the time.

Aura: What makes you happy?
Isabel a little shy: Sweets, and unwrapping presents.
Aura: Really, that makes you completely happy?
Isabel: Yes
Aura: So, if you had nothing else, only bags full, overflowing full of sweets, and nothing else, no family, friends, teddy bears, nothing else, just sweets, would you be happy?
Isabel: Oh, no,no, that would not be fun at all!
Aura: Well what if you only had mountains full of presents and you could unwrap as many as you wanted for the rest of your life but had no one to play with?
Isabel: Nooo Aura, that would not make me happy at all, playing is the fun part!
Aura: Ok, so, if you only had ONE thing you could have, and nothing else for the rest of your life, what would that be do you think?
Isabel: I don't know
Aura: Well, give it a try.
Isabel thought for quite some time and even suggested a few more things, but we did not come to the conclusion that those things were IT either.
Than Isabel lit up and said: Flowers, I like getting flowers!
When she said this, I knew what she meant, and I knew she needed a little help to express what she meant so I asked her: Why do people give you flowers?
It was as if a light suddenly lit up Isabel's head and she bacame very happy in that moment because she had figured it out: Love!, she said, love is why people give me flowers, it is because they love me!
Aura: Exactly, so what is it then that makes you happy?
Isabel: Love!
Aura: Yes!
Isabel: in here, she said, pointing to her heart
Aura: Yes, so what if you were all alone, and you felt unhappy, would you need someone or something to make you feel happy again?
Isabel: No, she said, cause it is always in my heart!

Is that not astounding? That a child of her age can understand these profound things?
I have had many conversations like this with many different children of different ages and they always come to the same conclusion! That has proved to me that it is indeed true! And speaking to these children helped me understand this better! So, eventhough we have a lot of teaching to do and guidlines to give to our children, we also can learn a great deal from them if we learn how to listen and what questions to ask! Just giving them that kind of attention is already something that makes them feel special and loved.

Try this out with your child and let me know how it goes! Do it in a moment where they have attention and are not doing anything else.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Conversation about love with a 7 year old

I take care of 3 very awsome children; Lucas who is now 8, Isabel who is 6, and a girl named Carlijn who is almost 4. I have been their friend and 'nanny' for 3 years and have learnt a lot from being in their company! One day when Lucas was between 6 and 7 years old I had a wonderful discussion with him about love.

It whent something like this:
Aura: where do you feel love? where in your body?
Lucas: (without any hesitation or thought) Here (pointing to his heart).
Aura: yes! and who or what do you feel love for?
Lucas: my mother, father, sisters, cats, friends etc.
Aura: do you ever get angry at any of them? or feel upset with them?
Lucas: yes! often
Aura: what happens to the love then? the love you feel for them? Does it disappear?
Lucas: no, I just forget about it!
Aura: So if you are feeling sad or angry, just in a bad mood in general, where does the love go?
Lucas: no where, just forgotton.
Aura: So, if you find ways to remember that love all the time...
Lucas: I would always be happy!
Aura: Exactly!
Lucas: I love you Aura!

As I said in my response to the comment below, children have a very clear and simple relationship to love and happiness. They are more naturally drawn to this happiness and are easily reminded of it. Having conversations like this is an important part of helping the children become aware of feelings like love and happiness. It helps bring them into that disposition. It is wonderful to have these kind of conversations because it helps both the adult and the child feel happy!

So when I asked a bunch of parents during a workshop I was giving what is love in action? These were their answers:
Telling them ' I love you '
Taking care of them.
Feeding them, making their food.
Giving them physical attention; cuddles, kisses, etc.
Giving them guidance, teaching them the 'ways of the world'.
Playing with them and giving them that kind of attention.
Really listening to what they are saying or trying to say.
And many more.

These are all really good concrete ways to show affection, and love to children.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Let me start with the most important aspect of raising your children and of life itself.. LOVE! I know it is a cliche word, but it is IT. Of course love, as it is beautifully sung in a "Massive Attack" song called "Teardrop", " is a verb, it is a doing word".

I heard of a rather cruel experiment where they put baby monkeys in a cage together with, in the one cage a fake mother or a stuffed monkey who did not respond, and in the other cage a real, live mother, who did respond to the baby monkey's needs. Both the baby monkeys were given food to eat and water to drink. The monkey that had the 'fake mother' died. Even though this is a cruel experiment, it illustrates wonderfully that love, is the most basic 'food', we need it to survive!

Well, I am sure everyone agrees with me so far no? ;-)
I would be happy to hear from all of you who read this, just as a fun exercise, how does love translate into actions in relationship to your children?