Translucent parenting begins not so much with your connection to your child, but with your connection to yourself. When we feel fully connected to who we are, deeper than concepts, we are also connected to reality as it is, and this allows us to really connect with our children as they are in this moment. Rather than trying to manage or control our children, or mold them to our expectations, we can feel them as living mysteries.
Connection is at the very core of Vickie Falcone’s work with parents. More than half of her groundbreaking book is devoted to this topic. “The most basic human need is to feel connected to another human being,” she says. “Every action that every infant, toddler, and child takes is directed toward meeting that need.” She makes the revolutionary observation that the time you spend in deep connection with yourself, even for a few minutes, is the essential foundation for real connection with your children. Without this essential connection to ourselves, we have hired Iago as the babysitter, and of course he will, despite our best intentions, find a way to pass on the trance as it was passed on to us. As soon as we return to ourselves, which for many people only takes a few minutes of silence, being present with the body, or just breathing deeply, our parenting breaks the trance instead of perpetuating it. Translucent parenting, from this internal connection, allows you to feel your children’s need to connect to themselves also.
“Johnny, what are you doing?” “Nothing, Mom,” he calls back. “Well, you stop it this instant, young man,” she shouts. I remember the same message when I was fourteen. I had learned to meditate and spent twenty minutes, morning and evening, sitting with my eyes closed. “Doing nothing will make you crazy,” my mother told me one dinnertime.
Both my sons sometimes go to their rooms, even for hours at a time, and “do nothing.” I can hear my nine-year-old talking to imaginary characters, sometimes acted out with small Lego men. My twelve-year-old may just stare at the ceiling or doodle on a pad, rehearsing apathy for his teenage years. Often I also hear a voice, an echo from my own childhood, prompting me to usher them into useful activity. I used to think that if they were not drawing, or talking, or doing something, they must have a problem. I now realize that they need time, everybody needs time, to just be with themselves. To do nothing and just feel their own interiority. If I value my connection with myself as the foundation of translucent life, I must also value the time they need to connect with themselves.
Peter Levine, a celebrated authority on recovery from trauma, points to the intuitive ways in which rabbits and other wild animals unwind and return to their natural state. When the danger from a predator has passed, they will twitch, dance, and jump, and then just vegetate, to release stress. Children know how to do this too, as long as we respect their need for space, and demonstrate this respect for internal connection in how we live.From this connection to ourselves, and the respect we bring to our children’s need for internal connection, a real meeting can happen. Falcone sees the depth of this real bonding as both the essence of translucent parenting and the potential antidote to many of the problems within families in a world out of balance. This depth of intimacy with your children may be unfamiliar. Even for parents who have known moments of radical awakening, and who may find other parts of their lives permeated with translucence, this means taking a stand against generations of aloof child-rearing habits. Falcone breaks down the elements of connection into seven steps:
- Decide that connection is more important than any other agenda.
- Approach your child in a friendly way, smile, and make it clear from your body language that you come in peace. This may be important if you are in the process of reversing a more authoritative style of meeting her.
- Get down to your child’s level, or bring her up to yours. This is a way of saying with your body, “What you have to say is important to me. We may be different sizes, but we have equally valid things to say.”
- Make eye contact. This will allow you both to become more present and to feel each other.
- Reach out and touch your child.
- Give all your focused attention. Even a few seconds is long enough to be completely present and say, “I really want to hear all about your project as soon as I have finished cooking.”
- Let your communication be informing or questioning rather than commanding.
Translucent parents are giving birth to translucent children.This new generation, sometimes called Indigo children, is born with much greater inward connection and often has a no-nonsense, kick-ass intolerance of Iago mythologies. They do not do well with mandates. In many ways, these children recognize that they have a higher level of wakefulness, maturity, and connection than their parents. If you are parenting such children, high- level connecting is not just an option — it is all that works. These kinds of children are often labeled by educators and psychologists as “difficult,” “spirited,” or even as having ADD, a diagnosis that has become rampant in recent years. Jon Kabat-Zinn has deeply explored this phenomenon:
They say there is an epidemic of Attention Deficit Disorder among children and adults. The entire society has a deficit of attention, because we are not attending to the moment. People are really starved for a certain kind of presence, a certain kind of mutual regard, that in some way is embodied in the mother’s gaze when she is nursing. That is accessible, virtually moment-by- moment, if you are willing to live inside it. Everybody is talking about it, but nobody is paying attention. Everybody wants a drug solution to it, to calm people down.
To read more, purchase my book The Translucent Revolution HERE.