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Help Your Teenager Help Others

Marcia Mallory | MedicalXpress.com | April 8 2014

Galvan and her team wanted to test this theory in teenagers. In teens, the reward processing parts of the brain are very active. Teens often seek hedonic rewards and gain pleasure from risky behaviors. At the same time, teens have a high risk of becoming depressed. Symptoms of depression increase dramatically through the course of the teenage years, peaking at around 17 or 18. Understanding how psychological responses to rewards affect the risk of depression could make it easier for mental healthcare professionals to provide the right services to vulnerable teens.

The researchers asked 39 teens to complete a questionnaire that measured depressive symptoms. The teens then performed two tasks. In the first task, they played a game in which they had to choose between earning money for themselves or for their families. In the second task, which assessed attitudes toward risk taking, they received rewards based on how they inflated a virtual balloon. As the teens performed these tasks, they underwent fMRI scans so the researchers could examine activity in the ventral striatum, a part of the brain associated with feelings of pleasure.

A year later, the teens retook the questionnaire. Teens whose ventral striatum activity had been high when they decided to help their families tended to experience a decrease in depressive symptoms. However, teens whose ventral striatum activity had been high when they decided to help themselves or take a large risk tended to become more depressed over the year.

mental health.

Learn more about why teenagers are more sensitive to rewards than adults




Mom Invents Device for Disabled Kids to Walk with Parents

Antonio Pasolini | gizmag.com | April 3 2014

UpseeKidsConnect

To arrive at the commercial version of the product, the Firefly team worked closely with Debby to further develop her prototype. It was a multidisciplinary effort started in 2012, combining the expertise of engineers, designers, textile experts and therapists.

The adult belt is available in one adjustable, standard size. The child harness comes in various sizes in blue or pink while the sandal comes in one standard size as well as infant, which is available in combination with the extra-small harness only.

Continue reading to learn where to buy this inspiring product starting April 7




7 Precious Gifts Every Parent Should Offer Their Child

Anca Ani | Purpose Fairy

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.” ~ Carl Jung

Being a parent is one of the most profound experiences in a lifetime. Even if you love kids and enjoy playing and spending time with them, you’ll never understand the actual feeling of being a mom or a dad until you become one, no matter if your child is biological or adopted.

Until you become a parent you would never be aware of how much love you’re capable of offering to another human being. But we all know that as sudden as the feeling of fulfillment comes, so does the fear of failure in the parenting job. Children don`t come with an instruction manual attached and actually no general instructions could be drafted as each and every child is different and has his/her unique temperament and personality.

So even if you read a lot of practical advices about how to feed and nurture a child, when it comes to the behavioral and psychological aspects, inevitably you’ll doubt your capabilities of being a good parent.

So let’s see which are the most meaningful gifts you could offer your child, more important than expensive toys and holidays:

1. Love

From the first day of his life the most desirable and simple gift to offer a child is your unconditional love. Let him feel love through your touches, your glance, your soft words and even if you think he’s too small to understand you tell him “I love you” as much as you can. It’s well known that the act of birth can be traumatic for an infant getting out from the warmth of your womb in this world full of noises, lights and unfamiliar voices. All he can recognize is your voice and hearing you say “I love you” while you cuddle him is all he needs to feel comfortable or at least less frightened.

2. Quality time

In these busy times we are living in when we all run between our jobs and house duties we often forget how important is to spend some precious time with our children. Even if it’s one or two hours per day, make it full of fun and show him how much you enjoy being there with him. You can play his favorite game or read stories, make a cake, take a walk in the park, do some sport or whatever you both enjoy doing.

3. Rich experiences

Teach your child to fully enjoy life and take the most of it. Take him in the middle of nature, let him touch trees and look at the stars, get out of the comfort of your house and instead visiting the shopping mall, find an interesting museum or take a boat trip, go to a farm and show him animals.  Help him feel how exciting life can be and what a powerful and divine experience you can have by connecting with nature.

4. Freedom

The parent role comes hand in hand with the protective instinct towards your little baby. When you see him struggling to climb the stairs your first impulse is to run and help him, isn’t it? But it would be much more helpful to let him try until he succeeds as it builds more trust in himself and the world around. If you are always there to do the things in the “right” way, he will think he`s not good enough and mom or dad will always be there to save his back.

5. Do something for yourself

Every child needs happy parents. It’s absolutely normal sometimes to just feel the need to escape, to spend some time alone listening good music, reading a book, hanging out with your best friends or anything else that helps you recharge your batteries and gives you the feeling of doing something just for you.  You don’t have to feel guilty or think that you are a bad parent if you spend some time without your beloved child. On the contrary, this will help you find your peace, manage stress level and be a calm and happy parent.

6. Be an example

If you want to teach your child something meaningful make sure that you set an example. By the age of 3 kids don’t have consciousness and they absorb everything from the environment they live in, imitating every gesture or word of the adults around. So if you want to see a good behavior at him, be the first who behaves that way and if you want to learn him what love is, make sure that’s what he sees in you.

“Your children will see what you’re all about by what you live rather than what you say.” – Wayne Dyer

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Creative Construction: Kids Furniture They Make for Themselves

Dave Parrack | gizmag.com | Mar 26 2014

Given even the smallest opportunity to get creative, kids will invariably take it. This is why modular furniture designed to appeal exclusively to children is potentially such a good idea. Olla is just that, offering children of all ages the opportunity to build their own Lego-style furniture.

OllaKidsComponents

Otterstedt is crowdfunding Olla, seeking US$250,000 to turn his idea into a reality. Pledges from $6 will reward backers with an individual Olla component should the aforementioned goal be hit. However, a pledge of between $228 and $2,255 is required to hit a reward level containing complete pieces of furniture. Shipping is not included.

The variety of pieces that can be constructed using Olla is impressive, with chairs, desks, shelving units, beds, cots, and benches all feasible. The Olla components come in a range of different colors, meaning children can mix and match at will. Each of the pieces locks together using just four different types of connectors.

Keep reading for full image gallery and video showing kids assembling their DIY furniture




Grandfather’s Final Letter To His Grandkids – Brilliant & Inspiring

Huffington Post

On Sept. 3, 2012, James K. Flanagan of West Long Branch, N.J., died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He wrote this letter to his five grandchildren just months earlier and it is reprinted here with the permission of his daughter Rachel Creighton.

Dear Ryan, Conor, Brendan, Charlie, and Mary Catherine,

My wise and thoughtful daughter Rachel urged me to write down some advice for you, the important things that I have learned about life. I am beginning this on 8 April 2012, the eve of my 72nd birthday.

1. Each one of you is a wonderful gift of God both to your family and to all the world. Remember it always, especially when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement fall upon your life.

2. Be not afraid . . . of anyone or of anything when it comes to living your life most fully. Pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or “different” they may seem to others. Far too many people don’t do what they want or should do because of what they imagine others may think or say. Remember, if they don’t bring you chicken soup when you’re sick or stand by you when you’re in trouble, they don’t matter. Avoid those sour-souled pessimists who listen to your dreams then say, “Yeah, but what if . . .” The heck with “what if. . .” Do it! The worst thing in life is to look back and say: “I would have; I could have; I should have.” Take risks, make mistakes.

3. Everyone in the world is just an ordinary person. Some people may wear fancy hats or have big titles or (temporarily) have power and want you to think they are above the rest. Don’t believe them. They have the same doubts, fears, and hopes; they eat, drink, sleep, and fart like everyone else. Question authority always but be wise and careful about the way you do it.

4. Make a Life List of all those things you want to do: travel to places; learn a skill; master a language; meet someone special. Make it long and do some things from it every year. Don’t say “I’ll do it tomorrow” (or next month or next year). That is the surest way to fail to do something. There is no tomorrow, and there is no “right” time to begin something except now.

5. Practice the Irish proverb: Moi an olge agus tiocfaidh sí “Praise the child and she will flourish.”

6. Be kind and go out of your way to help people — especially the weak, the fearful, and children. Everyone is carrying a special sorrow, and they need our compassion.

7. Don’t join the military or any organization that trains you to kill. War is evil. All wars are started by old men who force or fool young men to hate and to kill each other. The old men survive, and, just as they started the war with pen and paper, they end it the same way. So many good and innocent people die. If wars are so good and noble, why aren’t those leaders who start wars right up there fighting?

8. Read books, as many as you can. They are a wonderful source of delight, wisdom, and inspiration. They need no batteries or connections, and they can go anywhere.

9. Be truthful.

10. Travel: always but especially when you are young. Don’t wait until you have “enough” money or until everything is “just right.” That never happens. Get your passport today.

11. Pick your job or profession because you love to do it. Sure, there will be some things hard about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone — it will cripple your soul.

12. Don’t yell. It never works, and it hurts both yourself and others. Every time I have yelled, I have failed.

13. Always keep promises to children. Don’t say “we’ll see” when you mean “no.” Children expect the truth; give it to them with love and kindness.

14. Never tell anyone you love them when you don’t.

15. Live in harmony with Nature: go into the outdoors, woods, mountains, sea, desert. It’s important for your soul.

16. Visit Ireland. It’s where the soul of our family was born — especially the West: Roscommon, Clare, and Kerry.

17. Hug people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you now; don’t wait until it’s too late.

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What Would You Prefer… to be Supported or Challenged?

Dr John Demartini | Demartini Institute

When I was a young boy (age nine) I desired to have my own bicycle. I asked my father if he would buy me a blue colored bike just like the ones some of my friends had. Since their fathers bought them their bikes I just assumed and expected my father to do the same. But he told me very clearly and calmly that he would not buy me such a bike. He told me that I could certainly earn the money for one if I was willing to patiently work for it. He then explained to me that I would take care of and appreciate my bike more if I earned the necessary money for it and bought it myself. I asked him if he meant by shining his shoes every day and by keeping my room clean and the yard mowed and edged. He said, “These chores are the normal expected duties for your weekly allowance and that you would have to either get a job throwing papers or some other job around the neighborhood to earn the extra money for your bike.”

Though part of me was disappointed by his comments, another part of me was excited about the prospect of doing yard work for the neighbors and getting paid for it. The next day I walked down the street going home to home ringing door bells and asking the neighbors if they would like their yards mowed and edged, their flower beds weeded or anything else around the house done? Some of them replied, “yes”. I negotiated a price of five, seven or nine dollars depending on the size of their lots to mow, edge, rake and sweep and ten to twenty dollars to weed depending on the size of their flower beds. I was exhilarated and immediately began to go to work. The whole time I kept imagining me riding my new bicycle.

I serviced three yards that first day and when I collected the money and went home I felt excited. But when my dad came home that evening and I told him what I had done and how much I had earned, he said, “Great son, I am very proud of you. When you truly desire something and you are willing to work for it magical opportunities begin to take place. But there is still one small detail you might have forgotten and that is the rental and depreciation costs on the equipment you borrowed.” He then told me, “That in order to compensate him for the equipment and gasoline used that I would have to pay him 50 cents a day for the mower, 25 cents a day for the edger, 25 cents a day for the rake, broom, clippers and gloves and 25 cents a gallon for all the gasoline I consumed.”

I was a little set back and flattened by these new added responsibilities but I could see that it made sense to do so. So the next day I factored in my new costs and went once again throughout the neighborhood. This time I earned 22 dollars net profit, but I certainly worked extra hard. Luckily some of my friends noticed me taking care of some the local yards and asked if they could help and make some extra money too. Soon I had a crew of friends helping me do the yards in an assembly line format. I paid them a small to moderate portion of the total for their efforts and still netted a decent return for all my marketing and entrepreneurial efforts. It only took a week and a half for me to be able to buy the bicycle I had dreamed of. Soon I also bought the glove, baseball, bat, football, golf set and basketball, etc. that I desired.

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Oh My, So That’s How GaiaMa Feels!

GaiaMa fetusBy Cristina Cabeza-Kinney

I consider myself an ecologist, environmentalist, you know eco-conscious.  I study to understand the ways of natural law, the interrelatedness of all things, and that the Earth is alive, Her force intricately woven into all in this sphere and beyond.  I am a student of Life, Death, and ReBirth.

So, during this week, I got a major dose of what this actually is.  A lot of times its mainly intellectual grasping of this mind boggling reality.  Sometimes, I can really tap in and consciously enter into the filament of the earth~cosmos connection.  I can really feel it.  This time, I went even deeper, into a realm of union and great grief.  I experienced this connectivity from a Mama’s point of view…you know from Mama to Mama.

I was truly having a “What the Fuck” kind of day.  At home, with the kids, a huge to do list, and the feeling that my daunting task of the day was to figure out how to herd cats.  Now, I like to consider myself a conscious and cool Mom, but this was definitely a Shadow Day.  Great evolution comes on Shadow Days.

So, here’s the scene, mainly expressed through my loving children’s subconscious agreement to help me evolve.  I take a step towards my goals and my daughter {whinning} needs her bum wiped.  I accomplish that, then she {whining} needs some “ami”, so I fix this up.  Meanwhile, her brother is asking me loads of questions which don’t, necessarily, relate to one another, in the most urgent of tones.  For some reason the questions need to come with his body obstructing my every move.

Meanwhile, little sister is climbing the chair, which topples over and she naturally wails as I go to comfort her.  I comfort, feed, answer, and now seize my moment to get to number 1 on my list.  As, I sit down to make the phone call, my children begin screaming at each other “No mine, no mine!”  I say the usual short term effectual words and take a breath.  Now, just set this to repeat for hours and you’ll get the gist of what reality I was living into.

My temper reaches the apex of its crescendo and I lose it.  Yelling and screaming, unleashing my deluge of frustration, I am completely enraged.  Engrossed in anger, I am baffled at the level of disrespect from these two beings who squeezed through my yoni…for hours!  Naturally, I may add.

So, with my temper way beyond comfortability,  I am left with only one way through….surrender.  I allow myself to cry, to feel what it is like to be sad, overwhelmed, and without answers.  To feel completely baffled on how to parent in the midst of tremendous responsibility.  To allow the waters pouring out of me to comfort me and release me into nothingness.  I cannot move forward…this train is moving me and I not it.

mother-earth-pregnant-womanThis is not an unfamiliar experience.  My Scorpio Moon moves me in these ways from time to time.  This time, it moved me deeper, into a place of finding my Earth Mama.  In the depths of these emotional waves, I found correlation and parallel…with GaiaMa.

This must be how she feels!

Continuously being needed, demanded for her time, resources, and energy.  Never being asked if she needs anything in return, if she needs replenishing.  Take, take, take{n} under seriously stressful times.  Always feeling behind in the work of moving the healing forward.  Her children pushed through her Yoni~Verse only to lose this memory.  To lose the connection and default into disrespect.  She too has a temper.

She unleashes her anger and fed~upness.  She boils over, whips her breath, quakes her body, moves distant womb waters, and rages wildfires.  Not for not.  There is a time for this.  Anger fermented in her bones does not serve these times.  It must be expressed and fuel the change.

And, as it is, there is a time for the sweet, soft rain.  The respite between evolutionary leaps.  The surrenderous void that allows the change to solidify.  The moment of grieving for what is, indeed, a lot to bear.  The amount of pain inherently weighing on GaiaMa right now is astronomical.  It deserves a Global Moment of Awe.  What her children, what we have inflicted on her through our evolutionary fumblings, is one for the Guinness Book of Universe Records.  So, I grieve with her, with no to do list, just surrendered tears and my heart’s compassion.

Deeply enveloped…I don’t feel alone.  I feel connected to a global crisis.  I feel like my profound sadness is felt in the many hearts feeling the heart of our Earth Mother.  Somehow, this is comforting.

And then, this morning I awaken to a vision…a simple vision really.  One of a tree with roots growing deep and drinking long of the endless tears GaiaMa sheds.  It was so wet and nourishing!  And branches, reaching far and wide, as if asking for help from the cosmic answers from beyond…just open.

I trust the Earth to know how to heal and teach us to heal.  I trust myself a bit more now, knowing my process is as magnificent and profound as Hers.  And knowing that the spark of evolution lives in the challenging fierceness as well as in the loving embrace of an innocent child.

Today, I longingly hugged my children and fell into the Earth’s loving embrace.

About the Author

Cristina Cabeza-Kinney

 

Cristina Cabeza-Kinney is a Writer, Peace Ambassador, and Visionary raising a family, a community, and a culture from the middle of nowhere in Crestone, Colorado.  Her latest innovative project “Tell Stories That Heal” is a collaborative book illuminating the field of Modern Day Initiations.  Connect with her at www.AwakeningThePhoenix.com and on Facebook.




The Matrix of Conformity – Top 9 Traps for Today’s Youth

Dylan Charles | Wakingtimes 

matrix-More than ever our world needs a new generation of youthful and caring people capable of comprehending the problems we face, while maintaining the clarity of mind and compassion needed to seek and find creative solutions to this morass. For this, our youth need to be healthy, energetic, and free from the myriad traps that our society offers today.

Our young people should be given every opportunity to lead healthy, free, and prosperous lives in our earthly world of abundance, yet the opposite is unfortunately the case in these times, as government grows beyond control, our health is assaulted at every turn, and predatory schemes of all types target us to entrap us in false belief systems and destructive cultural paradigms, such as the wanton materialism and greed that surrounds us.

The broad message to young people nowadays is to conform and submit to norms and phony authority rather than to develop personal integrity, personal liberty and true happiness. Society beckons our youth to imitate others, to compete with others for no end, to pick a team and stay with them till the bitter end, and to neglect the most important virtues in life like spirituality, intellect and compassion.

Leadership for our youth is needed now more than ever, but the wisdom of older generations is rarely coveted as tool for development for the youth. To right this in some degree, here is a comprehensive list of conformitytraps for today’s youth, to help them more easily identify some of pitfalls that lie between them and true success and happiness on their journey to maturity.

1. Debt – Debt is the modern form of the slavery of old. The amount of debt in America alone is staggering, and unfortunately the next few younger generations will feel the brunt of this impending disaster. There really is no way for an individual to mitigate the public debt incurred just by being born a US citizen, and right now, each American already owes something between $50,000 and $200,000 to the national debt, depending on how this is calculated. However, personal debt is within the control of the individual and stands as one of the most freedom-limiting and stress-inducing aspects of modern life.

Our predatory lending system deliberately targets young people at an early age to purchase anything and everything with easy credit and credit cards, and there is tremendous peer pressure to live a fabulously materialistic lifestyle. In addition to credit card debt, the amount of debt that young people take on to participate in college is exorbitant, and this system is intrinsically designed to generate heaps of profit for the banking system and the US government, and it unnecessarily saddles young people with life long financial commitments that can weigh them down for decades.

There are many free and affordable options for gaining a higher education nowadays, and with consideration and commitment it is perfectly possible for young people to live an enjoyable life without dependence on credit cards.

2. Materialism and Consumerism – Made possible by access to easy credit and triggered by a predatory marketing infrastructure, one of the greatest conformity traps for young people today is the encouragement to develop a lifestyle centered around the purchasing of goods that people don’t even need to survive. Often, the drive for materialism is born of an encouraged psychological condition that both creates unhappiness while covering up unhappiness. It is a road to nowhere, and the feelings of liberty that come from maintaining fewer material possessions is one of the truest and most attainable forms of liberty today.

Rejecting the consumptive and materialistic patterns that govern modern society is a keen habit to develop so that one can truly discover who they are and what their role is in this world.

3. Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol – Our culture strongly encourages people, especially our youth, to conform to a lifestyle centered around drinking, drug use, and ‘partying.’ While this certainly might be fun to a degree, there is tremendous pressure for young people to assimilate these rituals as lifelong habits, which can shamefully trap a person at an early age, and prohibit opportunities and good health later in life. Furthermore, this is an assault on positive mental and physical health, meaning that over-indulgence early on in life can cause serious health and psychological issues later on. Moderation has become a four letter word in our world, but should be developed at an early age so that one can live in balance with the social pressures we all face.

4. Hyper/Over Sexuality – Primarily a design of the marketing industry which sprang up in the early part of the 20th century as part of a push towards mass-consumerism, our culture is ridiculously overly sexualized and pornographic. Marketers and psychologists realized that sex and sexual images are the number one way to trigger false desires within a person to inspire them to desire needless material objects.

This problem continues to get worse with our insane mainstream media who ceaselessly produces shallow images of lust and hyper-sexuality that chip away at a young person’s self image and esteem, encouraging them to objectify others and allow themselves to be objectified by others. Life shouldn’t be this way, and sex and the human body should be treated with dignity and respect, both qualities that must be nurtured as a person matures to adulthood.

Recognizing the blatant effort to over-sexualize marketing and entertainment at an early age can give someone the opportunity to view these cultural pressures with skepticism and caution, preventing them from getting trap in shallow trap of hyper-sexualization.

5. Mediocrity – We have, sadly, become a nation of the mediocre, and the idea of American ingenuity and exceptionalism has been completely hollowed out. Young people are encouraged to fit in and conform to what others are doing, too often in resulting the over-achievement of the lowest common denominator, which is typically a sincere focus on base desires rather than on the development of virtuous qualities that bring opportunity. Entertainment based living has become the norm and now mediocrity in effort, mediocrity in ambition, and mediocrity in expectation are contributing to severe cultural decline. Human beings are capable of so much and to conform to mediocrity is to miss out discovering one’s true potential in life.

6. Corporate Work Slaves – The education system we have was designed by industrialists and social engineers to produce people who are more suited to be workers than free-thinkers and revolutionaries. More than ever, Westerners live meaningless lives of servitude to corporations, often performing mind-numbing and redundant jobs on an oppressive schedule without ever growing to know what true happiness and fulfillment really is.

Due to the economic stranglehold that a corrupt baking and monetary system has on our society, many people think that the only option they have in life is to get whatever job they can obtain, all too often forgoing self-examination, spiritual cultivation and worldly experience in favor of the false sense of security offered by corporate America. A life of corporate work is not exactly a life of service, and young people should instead be encouraged to set out on a path of self-discovery in search of creative inspiration rather than a mediocre life of commitment to robotic corporate work. The rat race is failing us all while keeping us boxed into the addictive consumer mindset that has dangerous ecological repercussions. Rather than being encouraged to ‘get a job’ people would be better suited to first figure out what they are good at and love, then pursue education and training based on the contribution they’d like to make to the world.

Not all jobs are bad, of course, but the societal design of pushing young people to be part of a frivolous workforce in order to contribute to an overly consumeristic and unhealthy society should be recognized for what it is, a subtle form of slavery.

7. Poor Health & Medical Dependence – The standard American diet and lifestyle breeds stress, disease, unhappiness and dependence on a corrupt health system and pharmaceutical companies to cope. Advertising and marketing are aimed at turning people into unhealthy dependents, but young people should instead be encouraged to care for and strengthen their bodies and minds rather than waste away in sedentary lifestyles consuming toxic poisons instead of real food. Habits are set an early age, and the sooner a person can adopt the habits that breed good health and a positive mental attitude, the happier and more enjoyable their lives will be in the short and long run.

8. Contemporary Consciousness – Human physiology supports amazing potential for consciousness and elevated perspectives. However, and without question, there is a war on consciousness right now that seeks to limit a person’s perception of what life can and should be about. This trap is set by government/corporate propaganda and Draconian laws, is reinforced by the psychological warfare that is mainstream media, and is traditionally looked over by tired religions and aging dogmatic assertions that grant phony authority to anyone who joins an agency or organization that issues fancy uniforms.

By seizing control of the mind and one’s consciousness, and learning to protect one’s self from unseen negative influences, young people can set themselves on an enlightening path that will forever offer solace and reward, preventing them from becoming prey to the conformist fear-mongering that defines modern Western culture.

9. Social Conformity – By far the most insidious conformist trap that keeps young people from developing to their full potential is the pressure that we as individuals put on each other. Seemingly a natural feature of the human psyche, people fear being different from other people more than anything else. This type of conformity has us policing each other on behalf of organizations that betray us all, and is the primary source of dangerous group-think. In these interesting times, when humankind seems to be determined to snuff itself out with its own stupidity, developing the self-confidence and assuredness to think beyond the box should be our most prized virtue.

Conclusion

Upon reflection, it is easy to see how all of these traps are all inter-related and part of a broader matrix of conformity that has the Western world locked in self-destructive patterns and harmful cultural traditions. The youth of today are the world of tomorrow, and it is sad to see so many destructive influences clouding their judgement and confusing their worldview at a time when such tremendous positive energy is needed to bring about a major shift in human evolution.

Perhaps pre-consideration of the conformist pitfalls built in today’s society may assist some in steering clear of the traps that so many of us have fallen in.

About the Author

Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist esoteric arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. His remarkable journey of self-transformation is a testament to the power of the will and the persistence of the human spirit. He may be contacted at wakingtimes@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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Five Principles for Spiritual Parenting

Mimi Doe, MEd | all things healing

We know more about nutrition than past generations. We’ve identified learning disorders and new educational techniques. We give our children every advantage we can afford, and some we cannot afford. We organize, direct, enroll, coach, and transport our children to and from lessons, games, practices, social events, doctor’s appointments and schools. We are trying to be good parents and give our children all they need to develop into well- rounded and successful adults. We may, however, be missing the very core of our child’s being, his spirituality. Spirituality is the base from which grows self-esteem, values, morals, and a sense of belonging. It is what gives life direction and meaning. I believe we have entered into a sacred contract when we bring children into the world. A contract that says we are willing to help these children understand and wisely use their spiritual powers expressive of a greater Divine energy.

All children begin life with an innate sense of wonder about their world. They are naturally intuitive and open. We, as parents, can foster this precious state of being with our words, actions, and attentiveness. Where there is wonder there is spirituality. The ordinary becomes the incredible when we live life as a prayer, a soulful journey when we endow the daily routine with magic. When we stop the chaos of daily life and celebrate the small moments we provide our children the joy of the moment, we affirm and acknowledge their true state of being.

“How, you ask?” “I’m so busy now, where am I possibly going to get the time to nurture my child’s soul?” I assure you, as a mother of two young children who also strives to put my voice and work out into the world, that it is not only possible but can easily work in any kind of family and in any kind of home.

Here are a few ideas to get you started and 5 of my 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting.

1. Listen to Your Child! Children have wisdom and they are naturally in touch with their intuition. If we listen and honor their instincts, they will learn to do so as well. When a child says, “It just doesn’t feel right Mama,” it’s time to go deeper and find out why. Not only does listening help children to validate their own deepest intuition, it also is a joyful, insightful and often inspirational time for the adult. I have learned so much from kids. In my book Drawing Angels Near: Children Tell of Angels in Words and Pictures children have touched thousands of readers with quotes such as “A long time ago when I was born, I thought of all the things I had made before. It was that time that I knew the angels.” (Age 4)

Set aside time to listen to your child in the evenings just before bed, or a walk in the park, Saturday morning breakfast, or a special date for just the two of you. Listen! Don’t do all the talking. Hear what he/she is saying and you’ll be amazed at the things that come up.

2. Add Magic to the Ordinary! Starting today, add a little magic to your daily life with your children. Don’t just wash the dishes at the sink — look for the fairies in the bubbles. Eat breakfast for dinner. Music is a great way to touch the spirit. Try different kinds with your child. Soon, he will know what frees his soul. Drop peppermint oil on the light bulbs and sprinkle scented powder between his/her sheets at night. Put a flower on the breakfast plate. If there isn’t one growing nearby you can make one out of tissue paper or draw one on a napkin. Use your imagination and remain open for inspiration.

Young children see the magic naturally in their lives. Let’s not belittle their ecstasy, but join in it. Look at the ladybug that is flying around your kitchen – count her dots – write a poem about where she is going. This makes magic. Creating magic out of the ordinary builds celebration, rituals and loving, lasting memories that nourish the souls of everyone involved.

3. Create a Flexible Structure! Kids of all ages need order. They need to know what to count on in an unpredictable world. Depending on your personality and your life situation, your routine and structure may vary. If you take a long hard look at a typical weekday in the life of your family, jotting down what the pattern is, you can then judge whether you need to create MORE order or perhaps loosen up a bit. One seven-year-old recently told me, “I feel like I’m in prison. Everyone tells me what to do. My mommy, teacher, even the bus driver tells me where to sit. Then I go to Sunday school and I have to glue the picture just like the teacher’s. I feel just like I’m in prison.”

The trick is to be structured without being rigid and to be secure while being spontaneous. Within family rules flexibility can exist for the child’s expression of individuality and spirituality. It is safe when boundaries and expectations are clear.

Have fun adding flexibility. If you are stumped for ideas just ask your kids!

4. Be a Good Mirror for Your Child. You are a mirror for your child and will show by example how spirituality and daily life merge. Everything you do or say, every habit you have, your tone of voice, your expressions, all teach your child what the world is and how he fits into it. What he sees in you is a mirror of the bigger world. What he sees in you is a mirror of who he is.

If your child sees a parent who has a loving comfortable relationship with spirit, chances are he/she will too. If you share your feelings about God/Goddess/All That Is/The Higher Power and demonstrate a faith and a trust in that power your child will model this behavior. If you want a child who is spirit-filled and comfortable with his connection to The Higher Power show him/her how you do it. Is meditation something that works for you? Children as young as three enjoy sitting for a few minutes and meditating. Altars are individual shrines that children can create. Prayer is a habit that a child will integrate as part of his day if you demonstrate your prayerful times and methods. For your daughters, check out Celia Straus’ fantastic book, Prayers on My Pillow.

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