Something’s been bugging me like a sharp pebble in a shoe: it’s that we don’t believe adults are as important as children. It’s as if there isn’t enough importance to go around for everybody. But it shows that we don’t really have any respect for the individual, just for their age. Because once the child grows up, bam, it’s not important any more. There’s nothing true about this ridiculous belief, it’s just a myth.
And the thing is, adults who can’t respect that their own needs are important – and who can’t give themselves permission to meet them – can’t truthfully respect those of their children. They try – very hard and admirably – but they fail, because their unmet needs compete with their children’s. It’s impossible to prevent. The parent can suppress their own needs, because they believe they shouldn’t have them, but the frustrated energy keeps on being generated inside. And it has to find an outlet. It either gets directed at the child or inwards and the parent becomes depressed. Which affects the child.
Regardless of our age, that part of us which isn’t being acknowledged won’t die, it won’t stay silent. It keeps crying out but what about me. It can’t even be anaesthetized for ever – and not without enormous cost, which will eventually force itself upon us. And whether we want it to or not, anger gets generated when our needs aren’t met. So a dualism starts being created where the spoken message is “I love you and you’re the most important creature in the family” but the unspoken one is I hate you, you’re stopping me from having my life, you’re ungrateful, after everything I do for you, what’s wrong with you?
Resentment, frustration, guilt – all of it gets dumped on the child. When there’s that kind of double-message, life gets very unsafe for children. Because both messages come across loud and clear to them. The unspoken one is actually more real. And they think it’s their fault.
Most parents intend to do the right thing. But intention isn’t what impacts on children. Our parents’ intention wasn’t what impacted on us as children. The parents’ emotional reality, the truth of what they can and can’t do for themselves; their entitlement, their vision, their beliefs, what they actually are and aren’t doing – that’s what impacts on children. It’s what they learn from.
If we want the children of our society to be as important as we say we do, we have to accept that we’re as valuable as they are, that value isn’t about age, it’s about every single individual on the planet. We have to listen to our own inner needs and meet them. If we don’t know how to do it, we have find a way to learn. Otherwise the children take the fall. Much as we say they’re more important than we are, much as we try with everything we have to make that a reality, they actually become secondary to our own adult frustrated needs and our own refusal to face the truth of them.
Nobody’s bad. We’ve all just got a few things to learn – the whole human race. How to stop judging ourselves, and start listening better, start respecting ourselves and our needs. Everybody’s important. Not because of age, role, talent, intelligence, looks or race. But because of our individual spirit, for which we deserve to be cherished from before conception, through birth until death and beyond. Every nano-second of the way.
My child, my self. We have equal value, different roles. I can protect and nurture you and cherish you and your most precious individuality and spirit because I can cherish my own.