The feedback I often hear from parents and families about what I do is this: WHY do children need to LEARN to connect to their intuition? Most people agree that children are already so connected to their knowing. So why is this something that needs support?
In this writing I hope to explain my truth about this, because it’s a big one, and super important for the big bodies guiding the little bodies to grasp. While doing so, I also want to speak to the next step, which is HOW a parent, or teacher, or counselor, might go about supporting their children in this way.
So, let's start with this question. How do our children learn to be guided by their intuition, their inner voice, their knowing? How do we teach that?
The answer, and the good news of the day is this, we don’t have to teach this, they are already being led that way. You knew that, right?
HOWEVER, and it’s a big old HOWEVER, we do need to honor their process, bring it into their consciousness, and give them opportunities to practice it. And that’s where things get exciting, sometimes challenging, and always interesting.
Look around at the adults with whom you experience life, or who are in the world around you and ask have they kept that inner connection alive? Sadly, we all know the answer is usually not really. And that is my answer to WHY this is an integral practice to share and model for our children. Life gets big, and loud, and hard, and they will begin to block their information, mistrust it, doubt it, and it will slowly fade. It is our job and our responsibility, to strengthen it, foster it, nurture that connection to themselves.
BUT HOW, OH HOW, DO WE DO THAT? I hear all parents from here to infinity asking.
Well, I think it might be more simple than we expect. I see it this way.
1. Model it for them. Show them and experience with them your process of listening to your knowing. Show them how you connect within, how you listen, and share your relationship with your inner guidance. Let it come alive for them because it’s alive for you. This is the ABSOLUTE best way we can lay a solid foundation for them, everything else might in fact be gravy. And since I do love gravy, here is more.
2. Give them opportunities to practice with their knowing in a conscious way. Empower their knowing by asking and reflecting for them. This is truly so unique for each individual, so I’ll share a few examples of what I mean.
One, your child has a decision to make, instead of giving them a rationale for why one thing over the other would be 'best', ask them, ‘what does your knowing tell you’? Let them be their own guide. Keep asking questions instead of sharing your ideas.
Two, we can use the body as a tangible way to practice recognizing subtle energies and tuning within. Ask your child what their body is telling them they need, instead of just asking if they are hungry or thirsty or have to go to the bathroom, and instead of just telling them what or when to eat or drink. When we give them opportunities to cue into the felt sensations of their body and let it’s wisdom rise up within them, they begin to develop a beautiful dialogue within their own being. They begin to notice the different voices within.
Three, this can be super playful! When the phone rings ask who they think is calling? Create games to practice playing with their knowing.
Lastly, make it become part of the vernacular of your family, or school. Pause before new activities to listen within and ask where to go. And always, always, always, reflect the process for them so it becomes written and sealed. This part is integral in the learning.
3. Listen to them. When they are frightened about something, don’t want to do something, have resistance to someone, TRUST your children. Listen for the information they are trying to share. Yes, there will be times your child just wants something their way because they want it their way, but more often than not, when we listen, there is learning to be witnessed and shared.
I’m talking about the times when you, the parent, using your knowing to guide you, will follow what you know is true; my child needs me to hear them, this is not a time for boundary setting or rationalization. Sit with them and ask them, what are you experiencing, what are you needing, what are you thinking, what’s happening for you? They may only be able to share a few words, or maybe a whole story. Follow them, and know that even if you don’t have any answers, that’s PERFECT. No answers is awesome. Your kids don’t want answers, they want you; your presence, your support, your saying, “Geez, I’m not sure about that, but I trust we can figure it out.” Or, “Some things we don’t always understand, but we are ok, we are good, we are safe.” Listen for those times and when you find them, honor them, honor your children’s knowing, let them see it’s important and valued and valuable.
When we don’t listen to our children in the small and big moments, the message to them is that their voice doesn’t matter or isn’t worth hearing. I know we are not meaning to send that message, but it does and did get transmitted to many of us. Let’s choose differently now, so they see how integral their voice is to their well being.
4. Follow them. It’s important that in following our intuitive knowing we realize that when we connect to it, we are in alignment with our true selves, and the essence of who and what we are. In that way, we all get to take the lead. Sometimes I have ideas that my family follows, and other times, my daughter, or my husband guide the way. It’s a beautiful dance of love and curiosity and wonder. Yesterday my daughter told me she wanted to do something we had never done before, something that would open our hearts and connect to the newly budding trees. How could I say no to a request like that?! But I really wasn’t sure what that could be and I really didn’t have any ideas. And then Life itself spoke and ushered us along. And we followed. Certain doors opened, and others closed, and two hours later I got into the car with her and said, “Wow, you specifically asked to have an experience and we listened and we trusted and that’s exactly what happened.” She beamed back at me. Had I tried to control it or create it, it just would not have been as good, or even good at all. And the experience empowered my child to know that she is the bold creator she knows herself to be. The reflection at the end is a big key for us parents. I think it really solidifies the learning, makes it conscious, and makes it real.
This is a really HUGE topic and I’m so excited to keep talking about it, offering ideas and inspirations. By the way, did you notice I didn’t at one time mention meditation or mindfulness practices, as some would think would be an integral part of this conversation. It’s not that I disagree, I actually do agree, but it’s only one way to tune in and practice listening to our knowing. As parents, caregivers, and as a culture, we have so many things we can do to support our children, so that they grow up in a world that values and acknowledges living a conscious life.