I like Eckhart Tolle‘s take on how to make your child feel truly loved and cherished. Here is an excerpt from his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose that I wish every parent would read and take to heart.
Many children harbor hidden anger and resentment towards their parents and often the cause is inauthenticity in the relationship. The child has a deep longing for the parent to be there as a human being, not as a role, no matter how conscientiously that role is being played. You may be doing all the right things and the best you can for your child, but even doing the best you can is not enough. In fact, doing is never enough if you neglect Being.
The ego knows nothing about Being but believes you will eventually be saved by doing. If you are in the grip of the ego, you believe that by doing more and more, you will eventually accumulate enough “doings” to make yourself feel complete at some point in the future. You won’t. You will only lose yourself in doing. The entire civilization is losing itself in doing that is not rooted in Being and thus becomes futile.
How do you bring Being into a busy family, into the relationship with your child? The key is to give your child attention. There are two kinds of attention. One we may call form-based attention. The other is formless attention. Form-based attention is always connected in some way with doing or evaluating, “Have you done your homework? Eat your dinner. Tidy up your room. Brush your teeth. Do this. Stop doing that. Hurry up, get ready.”
What’s the next thing we have to do? This question pretty much summarizes what family life is like in many homes. Form-based attention is of course necessary and has its place, but if that’s all there is in the relationship with your child, then the most vital dimension is missing and Being becomes directly obscured by doing, by the “cares of the world,” as Jesus puts it. Formless attention is inseparable with the dimension of Being. How does it work?
As you look at, listen to, touch, or help your child with this or that, you are alert, still, completely present, not wanting anything other than that moment as it is. In this way, you make room for Being. In that moment, if you are present, you are not a mother or father. You are the alertness, the stillness, the Presence that is listening, looking, touching, even speaking. You are the Being behind the doing.
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the one book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.
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