During these days that seem unstructured and have the fullness of activities at home, be conscious of this gift of time. In many societies in history, such times were not available. There was always the requirement of work by every member of the family – even the young ones – to assist in the survival of the family, the sustenance for the family. In this time of great conveniences and wealth, this is not necessary. Instead of racing from one activity to another – having one child farmed out to this camp and another to that camp and another to sports practices, have integrated family time. It might not occur every day because one child might be at an overnight camp; make sure that every time the family is home that there is time, quality time with the family. As you schedule the outings for the children, make sure you are diligent that you balance time away from home and with time with the family. Children may seem to want to grow up quickly and indeed as parents you must allow them to be with their peers so that they may learn social customs and learn more about themselves in conjunction with the others.
Yet, they are children. Do not underestimate how important that family dynamic is to them at this time and in their future. This is building a foundation for the rest of their lives. It is not the requirement of the camp counselor to teach these foundations for they cannot. There is something unique about the family. Many of you, I understand, work during the day and the children may say they want to be with their friends in the evening. Be sure to balance this. If it is at all possible, be sure to take some time during their break for you to not be at work also. Have family together.
What if the family dynamic is not as peaceful and joyful as one might hope? This is the time to heal that and, if necessary, make whatever investment you must for outside help to heal these irritations. As bad as it may seem in the larger scheme of things, they are but irritations. The group that composes the family has come together through bonds of love, no matter dysfunctional it may seem. Yes, there might be/might have been traumatic abuse and sometimes it is the grown child that comes out of that family that needs to go back with new knowledge, understanding, and resources to heal those relationships. That is why you are together. It is only the rare occasions that members of a family are together without predecendant karma.
It is difficult for some people to imagine that certain family dynamics could have happened out of love, but this love is not the social definition of love. It is that love which is unconditional, which encompasses all, which seeks harmony with every living thing. Any relationship that is in disharmony is as an irritation to the soul of those within the conflict and it is out of this love that the souls have come together to heal each other and themselves. Unfortunately, as one incarnates, that intention may be forgotten and the road back may be difficult. With a pure heart, opportunities will come to help you move forward.
Sometimes the ego does not allow these opportunities to be recognized or, once recognized, does not allow them to come to fruition because the ego feels there is a debt to be paid. Or if the ego recognizes its part in the dynamic, it may choose to not acknowledge it because of the meaning the personality would make of it. An example, if there is a parent who is alcoholic and abusive and receives counseling, for one reason or another, and realizes in part the injury that they have caused to themselves and others, they may choose to go back to the alcohol because that pain of that realization is more than they think that they can handle. Of course in reality what they can handle and what they believe they can handle are sometimes two different things. Many people have reported that through excruciatingly difficult times, they have found that they are stronger than they could have ever imagined. They have been to the bottom and sunk lower and at some point found they have strength beyond what their conscious identity dictated.
One need not get to the depths of despair to discover this. Unfortunately, some check out before they even get to a place that another would recognize as a depth of despair. To recognize the truth of one’s own strength, one must realize who they truly are. It is not a standard of society that dictates who you are; it is not a role of who you are playing in society that dictates who you are. You are part of the Creator. This makes you one with everyone and everything, with all there is. Yet we have the unique status of being individualized – individualized conscious beings and yet still one. Though this seems a conundrum, this is the essence of Truth.
Through the healing of the personality and the active seeking of the Divine, a person will recognize the truth of who they are. And the truth that all are equal, all are unique, and all are integral. This search for who am I, truly is inherent in each person. Unfortunately, the business or demands of everyday life sometimes eclipse this search. It is a valuable lesson for a child to learn how to forgive, how to discuss without judgment, and how to accept differences of another person and have it be okay about them and about the other person. This is done within a family dynamic.
Also, having this time that is set aside from the outside activities will set the pattern for the children to maintain throughout their lives and give them some balance. The balance of family, of community, and the individual time alone – this time alone is to be used in a way to reconnect with the Self. This is valuable because it is a connection with your true identity, with who you are. It gives a perspective that the conscious mind cannot bring forward by itself. It also reinforces the Reality, Reality with a capital R, that one is never alone. ‘Lonely’ is a construct of the personality and it is not anything more than a symptom of misunderstanding.
The family sets the stage, lays the foundation for how the children can interact with others for the rest of their lives. Parents, do not judge yourselves, for you may have done all in your ability and still judge yourself as lacking. It is not a one-to-one relationship that I am speaking of, but to focus on the questions: “Did you love?” “Did you provide time to say and demonstrate that love?” “Did you give guidance with a pure heart?” If you can answer yes to these, know that there are other factors at work and you have given and participated in the best way you could. If the answer is no, it is never too late to do so. And also it is never too late to mend relationships with parents even if they have passed, but that will be a subject for another discussion.
Cherish these times you have with your children. Do not allow them to dictate the lack of family together time. And do not sequester them at home. Achieve a balance, have open loving discussions, listen to things that may be painful for the personality to hear. And when it is difficult to hear, go to the true Self which is rejoicing at this honest, open communication. When you do connect to this Divine self, you will see the truth behind the words. For often in the heat of emotion, words do not reflect the true emotions underneath the words. In fact it is common for a child to say to a parent: “I hate you” and say within themselves: “I love you and I am hurt.”
Keep talking, keep loving, be with one another. Carve out that time within your busy schedule, for when it is appropriate they will venture out on their own into the community. And it will be a blessing to follow them with love. And you are loved. We bless you. We bid you peace.