Techniques of “The Conscious Parent” (from Shefali Tsabary’s book)
Once in a decade or so a new book comes along with ideas so fresh and important, revolutionary yet simple, that I am in awe. “The Conscious Parent” by Shefali Tsabary is just such a book.
I recommend this book to every parent on earth who can read. A key point made in this book is that children need to grow up with the awareness that they are worthy of celebration based on who they are. Without realizing it, I often praised my children for their accomplishments rather than for just being who they are. Our children’s inner being and essence is pure and loving, good, and worthy of celebration, even when the world around them may seem to be falling apart.
I needed specific directions on how to let my children know I loved them just for who they were, simply for being themselves without their needing to do anything to get that love. Below are some examples taken directly from the book (page 27):
- They are resting, and you tell them how appreciated they are.
- They are sitting, and you tell them how happy you are to sit with them.
- They are walking in the house, and you stop them to say, “Thank you for being in my life”.
- They hold your hand and you tell them how much you love holding their hand.
- They wake up in the morning, and you write them a letter saying how blessed you are to get to see them first thing in the day.
- You pick them up from school and tell them how much you missed them.
- They smile, and you tell them your heart is warmed.
- They kiss you and you tell them you love being in their presence.
Children thus learn that you are delighted to be in their presence, and they don’t have to do anything to be adored. You accept them as they are. The author suggests a few things you can hope for your child (p173):
- Not that they will be a good achiever, but a good learner.
- Not that they will obey you, but that they will respect you.
- Not that they will blindly follow your dictates, but that they will seek your counsel.
- Not that they will be a star, but that they will master the art of being.
- Not that they will follow your vision, but that they will live a life of purpose.
- Not that they will find direction, but that they will find meaning.
- Not that they will be your puppet, but that they will be your spiritual partner.
- Not that they won’t experience pain, but that they will find the means to become whole.
- Not that they won’t fail, but that they will find the courage to start again.
- Not that they won’t hurt others, but that they will find the grace to ask for forgiveness.
Too often, we as parents are saying “No”, to our children. Doctor Tsabary encourages us to choose when to be silent and when to say yes and affirm our children (page 249):
- Say yes to effort and hush to achievement.
- Say yes to searching and hush to finding.
- Say yes to not knowing and hush to always knowing.
- Say yes to other ways of knowing and hush to promote learning.
- Say yes to struggling and hush to succeeding.
- Say yes to curiosity and hush to attachment to the already-discovered.
- Say yes to being and hush to doing.
- Say yes to imagination and hush to imitation.
- Say yes to risk taking and hush to playing it safe.
- Say yes to crying and hush to holding it in.
- Say yes to generosity and hush to greed.
- Say yes to play and hush to pressure.
- Say yes to creativity and hush to bookishness.
- Say yes to playing and hush to winning.
As I read through the above lists, I see how I have often chosen an old way of parenting that undoubtedly caused my children to be more focused on achievements, less self-aware and less secure in who they are. I love my children unconditionally, but I’m not sure that was the message they got based on my parenting style. I hope parents will consider these new ideas, implement as many of these approaches as you can, and watch the transformation that will take place as your child becomes more self aware and conscious themselves.
I highly recommend this book. You can find it here…