If only our children had arrived with care instructions, parenting might be easier. However, they did not and I believe that was intentional. It is the process of learning our children’s care instructions that life unfolds and we create and experience our purpose in this role called parenting. The “conscious” part of the job is remembering that each child has individual care instructions, and has been given to us to care for and to grow in the best conditions we can offer. With the proper proportion and combination of acceptance, respect, discipline, freedom, trust, and love, our children can flourish to their fullest potential and we will have lived a life on purpose.
Rather than just be rhetorical, I gave myself a little assignment to write care instructions for each of my three children. This is in follow-up to the post titled, Give your child everything she wants. Here’s what I wrote about each of my budding plants, and not in birth order:
Plant with neck above soil level. Do not pat or compact earth around. There must be space to grow deep roots and flap wings simultaneously. This plant will provide a big personality in a small body. There is no guarantee the color of the flower, and it is possible to change overnight and appear completely different by daylight. The temperament requires freedom and does not appreciate over-praise. Please feed often and not too much. This one is very sensitive to over-feeding or ingesting nitrates and other preservatives. Prefers sun, but not heat. Enjoys the rainbow after the storm. This one is very intuitive to caretaker’s emotions and intentions. Order and cleanliness of the environment are appreciated. Very individualistic. Sure to bring bright and random color to your home. Knows her voice, and enjoys exploring pitch and rhythm. Lives with purpose. Flourishes best with the gift of presence and secretly craves the awe of oneness.
Plant in water, rocks, or sand. Cannot be overwatered or overfed. Shares space well and grows well with any others. Enjoys movement and entertaining you. A confident, capable climbing vine – may wander, and always knows home base. Can be destructive if left to own devices. Confident and courageous, gentle and loving in one package. Creates many different flowers, sure to make you smile. Openly affectionate. Content at home or your favorite travel companion for a spontaneous road trip. Enjoys an unpredictable forecast – cloudy with a chance of meatballs is a perfect day. Ever the enthusiast. Will add chutzpah to your life. Goes with the flow. Flourishes best with gifts of presence and acts of unconditional service.
Plant with others in a colorful, peaceful setting. Can tolerate indoors; blossoms best in nature, near mountains, lakes, and trees. Prefers perfect conditions: not too hot, not too cold; a little rain, a little snow, sunny with a few white fluffy clouds. Very picky about food and does not like carbonation or HFCS; natural sugar is fine. Likes to be close to others, preferably sitting in your lap. Believes in humanity and eager to please. This one flourishes best when rules and morals are followed, and will help you discern wisdom and truth in your life. An idealist and a budding reformer. Gives and receives freely. Sees pure potential in the universe. Needs the grace of conversation and the awe of oneness.
This was one of the most enjoyable writings I have done. I laughed out loud, my heart beat a little faster, and I got a knot in my throat and lost all track of time. Best of all, I feel I know the care instructions for my children a little better for having done it.
♣ Take a moment of reflection and think about your children. Write care instructions for each. When are they at their best? What helps them flourish? Now for the fun: provide the best conditions you can offer and watch your garden blossom.
Cultivating Love & Peace,