As parents we want our children to excel in different areas of their lives. We send them to different classes to acquire skills, want them to work hard, want them to learn meditation, exercise regularly among other things for their all round development. We believe that once the deficiencies are removed our children will shine with virtue as there will be no blemish. The route we take for this looks like nagging to children. Though our intent is good, is our approach right?
There’s a common adage to what we give attention and energy in our lives that flourishes. And many women and now men too, modify their careers or take career-breaks to give attention to their children. And so we must take time to evaluate what’s the quality of our attention, where are we focused. Is our attention always geared towards what our children are unable to do and do we often fret about how much effort we are putting in endlessly telling our children to correct it but to hardly any avail.
A fundamental flaw in this approach is that when we are overly focused on the lacks, the message it conveys to children is that “we are good for nothing, are we worth anything, Can’t they appreciate me, I am a burden” so on and so forth, the chain of thoughts continue in similar pattern. Also by focusing majorly on deficiencies as the way to betterment makes the environment gloomy and dark, it makes us negative just like absence of light. If a plant is deprived of nourishing waters can it bloom, infact how long can it even survive? Same we are seeing today in society when the inner light of the child is not recognized, the spark in the eyes die. Not only does it decrease the morale of a child but also increases anxiety of parents by focusing on what’s not happening. Thus a vicious cycle is set which keeps running in the negatives.
Great people have often emphasized that darkness cannot remove darkness. It’s time we realized that deficiency motivation doesn’t work. Just by pointing out the deficiencies to our children they will not be filled with motivation to correct them. Motivation comes when we are in an uplifted state, the very opposite of what shame and nagging does. It’s important to know our deficiencies but would we rather have it pointed out by others and how many times. Don’t we want respect and time and encouragement to sort out our stuff.
Science has unequivocally shown that shaming, nagging, and finding fault do not work in motivation because they activate centres that downwardly regulate the prefrontal cortex, which can be called the logical and executive centre of the brain. In reverse if the amygdala ‘emotional centre’ is not always turned up high, it allows the prefrontal cortex to assess, analyze and come up with solutions. Even when you study the lives of people who have overcome great difficulties and shame you will find always that one person who showed confidence in them and that light changed the history of the one on whom it was shined.
Darkness can only be removed by shining the light. No longer let us hide under the cover of always having good intentions and wanting the best for our children but make it a conscious choice. Let us change our approach, take that first step. I am not talking about false praises or excessive ‘very good’ for every little act but a genuine heartfelt recognition of their being, of the person that they are. Aren’t there times when we need to scold our children, show them the way? Oh yes definitely but can you keep love in your heart consciously radiating to your child even when your words are reprimanding him/her. Every step taken in this direction is a positive one. As always we take one step at a time and come back on track when we derail. Keep repeating the process till it gathers its own momentum.
Great Saint Paramhansa Yogananda once told a group of disciples, “You have no idea how beautiful you are. I see you all as beings of light.” This is the light that we need to shine that the other person/ child feels to reciprocate in a similar way, which makes them want to put the best foot forward naturally rather than being coaxed for it. And the first step towards that is recognizing our own light and rejuvenating it. Here’s to the light in each one of us.