I was watching a documentary recently on a study known as “The Dunedin Study”, now the world’s largest and longest running study of human behaviour, or something to that effect. They have been following and tracking the development of more than a 1000 children born in Dunedin in 1972, and the study is now widely accepted as relevant to the entire western world.
The other night I attended a meeting at my daughters’ school, the head teacher made an interesting observation about how the children of today are different than the children who came to school 10 years ago, or 20 years ago. Therefore, as interesting as the Dunedin study is – especially to those of us born in 1972 – it’s really just a marker in time.
Consciousness evolves, and today it is evolving at a faster rate than ever before. Why? Well first of all let’s say that why is less important than how we adapt. As the teacher said, the education system, especially for teenagers, has not changed much in the last 50-100 years.
The examples that particular teacher gave were things like how open children’s eyes are, and how closed their ears. Anyone with young children or grandchildren at this time will likely be nodding their head fervently; cloth ears now seem the norm. These children are very visual, and pay the least amount of attention they can to what we have to say.
Other examples she gave were of the introduction to their first teacher, children used to look in awe, now they want credentials; they want to know what their teacher did before and why they are doing this now.
These no nonsense children are becoming stronger at maintaining their own will. I think it’s a marvelous change. Frustrating as a parent, of that there is no doubt. We, the parents, gain a new depth of understanding when we look at our own history. I am a 1972 child, born into an era where parenting still involved hitting, schooling still allowed corporal punishment. Control was king, will was to be broken.
What the Dunedin study does demonstrate, beyond anything else, is how vital those early years are in shaping us as an adult. The accuracy of the predictions from kindergarten to adulthood in terms of success in life and and crime rates etc are phenomenal.
Those early years are when your subconscious mind starts to develop. Given the limitations we experience as adults based on what our subconscious tapes are playing (bearing in mind your subconscious accounts for over 90% of the thoughts running through your head each day), your environment is important.
Many of us in adulthood have learned some version of “you are not worthy” from those early years. While we are aware of the particularly destructive environments that, while too many are subjected to, form the minority of human experience, we are less aware of the chronic effects of ‘normal’ well meaning childhood experiences.
Parenting is a skill like any other, we predominantly learn from experience; our own experience as children and, if we are open to it, the experience that our own children are giving us as they are growing up. Too often though we default to the behaviours that are most familiar, those we were brought up with.
Thoughts drive choices, therefore behaviours, which then drives your experiences and emotions; this then perpetuates the same thoughts. So you go round the loop again reinforcing those old subconscious tapes that have a lifetime of examples to give you about why you are not worthy.
In our well meaning, a true desire for our children to be safe, happy and healthy, parents try to control far too much of our children’s experiences. From what to touch, watch, play with, through to what you eat, who you see, what you wear, what you say. The underlying message for the child, however well meaning its intention, is that they are not worthy of making their own choices.
And so it is we now breed children who will not listen, interesting isn’t it? Nature’s way of lessening the effects of what we ourselves have had to deal with in order to be happy and successful in our lives. We cannot deconstruct our subconscious, we can only become aware of the layers and layers and layers of beliefs that are now planted there that are not serving us.
In a bid to find our authentic selves, to become the person we were born to be, we have to start creating new tapes to play in our head, tapes that reinforce the self worth we were born with. The number one regret of those who are dying is living life to the beat of another’s drum. Most wish they had done more of what they wanted to do rather than things to please others.
The way we came into the world, the sense of self worth, of connectedness, of pure love and joy are all too quickly smothered. In their place develops the ego, the doubts and the inhibitions.
As adults we have to deal with our own layers, and at the same time, try our best to allow our children to make their own choices. It’s a tough balance, but it seems we are being helped out. If children being born today are coming with some protection mechanisms in place, then that is good news.
I need to be reminded in the moment. As I look at my upended lounge and see that the chairs have – for the third time in 24 hours – all been moved into the walk through area to create a ‘car’, my daughter promising to clear it all up before school, I sigh. I am far from perfect, like you I have layers. Like most of us, I’ve no doubt already created a myriad of them in my daughters’ subconscious minds.
As frustrating as it is when you are trying to get a child to do something and they are just not listening, think about the future of that child, of our society. A society with children who have a healthy sense of self worth, who have a will and determination to see through their own path, is a society evolved from the one we live in today.
It’s not to say its utopia, but it’s a step towards a world more conscious of itself. Being who we are, allowing our children to become who they are, is one of the kindest and most important things we can do for ourselves and our planet.
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