Animals: On Raising Human Children
Animals are amazing parents- just watch them. They don't panic when their child is in a tough situation; in fact, they often stand close by and allow their offspring to find their own solutions!
As an orangutan shared, "Motherhood is not about perfection; it is about constant forgiveness of child and self while you teach them to be strong and independent. It is about emphasizing joy and minimizing fear beyond what is needed to stay alive and safe."
So I wanted to know what insights the animals could share on raising human children in our complex world. Clearly, the earlier we empower kids to discover their own inner wisdom and intuitive abilities - especially in those critical first 7 years of life - the better chances we have of building more health and wholeness into their development.
Horses came through first, so I decided to begin with their input, followed by some pointers from a few of the other species who stepped up to contribute:
“You are all raised backwards. Every. Single. One of You. You are taught caution to protect you and the result is you are crippled by fear. You await every next obstacle as if, somehow, you’ll be better prepared and your road will be easier, but the anticipation paralyzes you so you can’t even take the next step.
Stop teaching children to create and then cope with misery (you do this even more by example than with words); instead, teach them to focus only on creating the success and happiness they want- and deserve."
"Encouraging children to connect with us is a pet project of mine. It always starts with the children. They have not been taught to have a complete foundation in the human world; only the life of the mind is valued - and forced on them. Nature schools are a great idea but we know institutions are slow to change. So, it’s always the parents who must open up to what is possible for their children, even if they never had such opportunities themselves.
In order to foster intuition and inner wisdom, what is taught to be made up or imaginary is what needs to be stressed as real, for example: that all animals and plants communicate. It comes back to allowing (parents) and practicing (children).
Some playtime must be reoriented away from technology and into the inner realms. The parents must ask the questions (even if it is a bit of a stretch for them): ‘What do you think this flower is saying?’ and ‘What do you feel our dog wants right now?’ The children must be praised, whatever their answers are, because then they’ll practice more and that will make them really good at this!”
"Tell children that we hear their thoughts loud and clear. So, we know who they really are more than other humans ever will. We also know they can be soft and sweet and that makes us all gushy inside. They can learn more about themselves, through us, than they know. We can also show them peace amidst chaos, especially the chaos of being a teenager. We are here to help form them and help them flourish.
It is important that they understand what real love is at an early age, and they can see and feel it in our eyes. They have only to look. Tell them that when they betray us, toss us aside like an old saddle, they wound us forever. They must know there are consequences even if they’re not readily shown on our faces.”
"Children are at their best when they have something constructive to do! Teach them to build something like I do and then they can be very proud of their accomplishment. In general, I like kids. But, I wish they spent more time learning about us non-humans."
"For children: it's critical to get through to them before they perpetuate the madness and turn into all of you. Teach them to see what goes on in their minds as separate from who they are. The mind is a factory and produces products (thoughts)...and it makes a lot of defective ones! They have to examine these products and throw away the ones that are no good, just the way a factory would.
So how can they know which ones are no good? Tell them: ‘They are the ones that make you feel bad. Ones that give you pain in your body. Ones that make you not want to be around other people. You must throw them all in the trash."
"The key is to teach kids what most adults don’t even learn, so they can start out on the right foot. Teach them to put their effort into something and see the positive outcome- but then let go of it in their minds like setting a boat off to sail.
They must learn the art of release – letting go – early on. Most adults don’t learn this and they suffer because of it. The kids will be happier grown ups if they learn this lesson now."
So what are your thoughts on the subject?
Discover more of the inner lives and voices of the animal kingdom and the insights they share to help humans be happier:
We Walk Beside You: Animal Messages for an Awakening World, available in paperback, Kindle version and Animal Message Cards on Amazon: