Human beings are way braver, smarter, stronger, kinder, creative, talented, fun, adventurous and resilient than we think we are!
Have you heard the story of the baby eagle who grew up with chickens? If you haven’t it goes like this… a chicken farmer found a baby eagle and brought it home to live with his chickens. The eagle learnt the rules of being a chicken and lived its life pecking the ground for grains and staying inside the limits of the yard. It believed it was a chicken; therefore it behaved like a chicken.
What if the human race believed we were less amazing, less talented and less powerful than we really were (like the eagle did) and we kept passing this belief down through the generations?
I suspect that is exactly what has happened.
This is the same as the analogy of having a whole heap of eagles in a yard all behaving like chickens because that’s what they believe they are. When a new eagle is born it is taught the rules of its society – you have to peck for food and stay in the yard. When you and I were 0 – 6 years old we formed our base beliefs about ourselves, other people and the limits of life. These beliefs came from our parents, teachers and our society or culture. We believed these things without question because our brain was in Delta and Theta wavelength which meant we didn’t have a choice. We were basically brain washed into believing what everyone around us believed.
Don Miguel Ruiz in ‘The Four Agreements’ calls this ‘The domestication of humans.’ He suggests that when we were very young children we were free, joyful and loving beings who lived in the present moment and we didn’t have worries about the past or future. However, as we learnt the rules about how we should think, feel and behave from our parents and others we slowly lost our selves to fear, doubt, worry and judgement.
My family recently returned from a holiday in Japan. We spent a lot of time with our Japanese family in Tokyo and Osaka in their homes. (The back-story is we used to host two Japanese sisters and as a result we got close to the whole family.) Any way the point is – I had fresh eyes going into this traditional culture and I could clearly see some of the rules the society has in place to ensure it functions efficiently and respectfully. It was hard to get a handle on the ‘shoe’ rules, (no shoes inside, no bare feet outside, wear slippers to the toilet), and the rules for being polite so you didn’t offend anyone (like having to accept things you don’t want or like, including plastic bags from the supermarket checkout operators and having to eat food that was ordered for you, my least favourite was raw squid)!
Australia has rules and social customs that seem a little weird when you think about them, like washing up in sink full of hot water with soapy detergent, which after a while turns to lukewarm soup that we continue to wash up in! And how about assuming it is okay to wear our shoes inside a friend’s home when we have just been in a public toilet at the shopping centre?
Obviously, societies need rules to function, however the effect of domesticating our kids and making them adhere to all our rules and expectations, without questioning the illogical and unhelpful ones, actually limit them and increase their fear, doubt, worry and judgment (of themselves and others).
I’m not suggesting that Japan, Australia or any other country should change any of our cultural and social rules, instead I’m suggesting we empower our kids with self-awareness so they can decide which of the rules help them and which limit them.
Let’s look at an expectation with a massive influence on life – many people in Japan believe they have to work extremely long hours to keep their job (8am – 10pm is considered an acceptable work day). In Australia most people aren’t up for such long hours but many people believe they have to settle for a job they are not passionate about (at all or anymore) because it gives them security.
Are these beliefs empowering our Japanese and Australian children to live happy, loving, and fulfilling lives? In our eagle analogy it’s just like the eagle believing he has to stay in the yard because that’s what everyone else is doing, when the truth is – he can fly!
It would be fantastic if our kids learnt the truth – they are free to soar just like the eagle!
To teach your child who they are (a powerful, amazing and loving human being), why they are here (to make a difference on the planet that brings them love and fulfillment) and how they work physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually so they can live an incredible life (like an eagle not a chicken), come along to this weekend’s two-day workshop with your amazing child (aged 9-12).
There is also a Free Parent Info Talk tomorrow night at 7pm in the Panorama Room at Coffs Harbour Showground for anyone who wants to find out more about the Sparky and Shady program and how the content and strategies taught can help parents help children with everything from anxiety and bullying to family break ups and oppositional behaviour.
I look forward to empowering you and your child to soar like an eagle one day!