If you ask most parents, “What is parenting?” I believe you’ll get an answer that has something to do with teaching, training, mentoring their children to become healthy, whole (and usually included, happy) adults. The assumption, often not clearly seen and owned, is that parenting is a responsibility to shape those entrusted to their care. Assumed is that they will do this while loving, caring and nurturing their kids. What if this is indeed part of parenting but maybe not even the most important part. What if there is more, even lots more?
What if kids are not given to us primarily so that we can teach and train them but so they, and our relationship with them, can teach and train us? What if our kids are the ones who know and we’re the muggles? What if they know about presence, playfulness, acceptance, candor, integrity, peace, trust and oneness? What if the relationship is an opportunity for us to revisit our childhood and complete what we didn’t complete the first time around? What if parenting is one of life’s great invitations to see reality and truth more clearly?
When asking people why they want to have children I don’t often hear them say because they want to grow up, wake up, revisit the unfinished parts of their childhood and heal what is broken and wounded in them. In order to do this they need a mentor, guide, partner and playmate so they want to have a child. Also, and as an aside, they might also have some things to offer a child and they want to give what they have to give.
In my experience an answer like this would indicate that someone is signing up for conscious parenting. If they have signed up for conscious parenting one of the learnings I would want for them is that conscious parenting is not about the content, it’s about the context. If you have been around us you know that we are context coaches not content coaches so when working with leaders we are always pointing them to context. In the world of parenting we do the same.
What this means is that parenting is not fundamentally about:
This is all content. It is the who, what, where, when, why and how of life. It’s what unconscious parents focus on, worry about, fight about and celebrate.
They see that all the content of life, including the content of their relationship with their kids is an invitation to presence, to waking up. They don’t ignore content. In fact, they deal with content, but they deal with context first by asking the first question of conscious leadership: “Where am I?”
They ask, "Am I being with this content from...?":
They locate themselves before they solve content issues because they know that the context will reveal their own long-standing beliefs and patterns that no longer serve. Once a parent addresses these, they’re free to be with their children and whatever content arises from a non-reactive, blame-free, curious place. Everybody gets to learn and grow together.
To get more of a sense of the basics of conscious parenting from a conscious leadership perspective—and to discover more resources—check out our conscious parenting page.