I can say that one of my past insecurity patterns is with money or wealth. I grew up in a large family of eight and my father was a humble construction worker. Money was a constant struggle and often the reason for fights between my parents. At a very young age of 5-6, there was this one violent fight between my parents because of money which led me to develop a wrong cognition about money out of fear – “Money is so important because with money, people don’t have to fight.”. Money was perceived as a security blanket for me.
Living in a small nation like Singapore where we are constantly reminded by the government that there is a lack of natural resources in our country and people are the only resource that we have. The propaganda is always based on the same insecurity so as to keep us feeling inadequate that we need to keep running our lives to build our ideal dream home, happy family lifestyle and a comfortable retirement nest. That is the kind of societal conditioning I grew up with in relation with wealth.
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Two weeks ago, I attended a mind-blowing parenting programme called “Space of a Child” conducted by the Head of Enlightening Education, Ma Rishi Advaitananda from Nthyananda Dhyanapeeta. In that 3-hour session, it created so much awareness in me as a parent and literally at the end of the session, I came out feeling that every parent on planet earth should have this knowledge and understanding of the “Space of a Child”!
For parents, you probably would have realized this by now – being a parent is one of the most challenging responsibilities we have undertaken because there is no preparation from life for being a parent and each child is different. We just give birth to a new life and the next thing we have to go figure out how to raise a child through trial and error. No amount of parenting courses or support groups out there can fully prepare us for this task because there is a deeper mystery about life that we need to understand as parents.
That mystery is the “Space of a child”. What do I mean by the space of a child?
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We are aware that a family unit provides the early conditioning of a person’s personality. How we behave and what we become later in life is deeply connected to our family life. Psychologist like Erik Erikson talks about the psychosocial development in 8 stages through which a healthily developing human should pass from infancy to late adulthood. Each stage builds a successful completion of earlier stages.
In the Vedic tradition, the first 14 years of a child’s life is crucial in his or her development. Till the age of seven, a child is like a sponge. Anything that the child is exposed to, the child absorbs. His/her mind and body grows at an amazing rate. In this phase, the child is in the visualization phase. Whatever the child sees is imprinted and embedded into his or her unconscious. The embedded memories start replaying as the child grows into an adult. These embedded memories drive many of the adult decisions. Between the age of eight and 14, the growing child is in the verbalization mode. The child starts learning languages and verbal imprints, not merely visual images, start getting embedded. Using words like happiness, suffering, etc., instantly evoke appropriate pictures and therefore emotions. During this entire period, the child is controlled by its parents or parent substitutes like grandparents or nannies. Most of what is embedded in their unconscious comes from the elders close to them. Hence the parents from which a soul takes birth from play a major role in a child’s upbringing. Fundamentally, as parents we have a huge responsibility in creating a loving and stable family for our children so that it brings less suffering and depression to them.
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