Children are naturally quite pure at heart. When they are exposed to the crudeness so predominant in the world today, they feel hurt. Their vulnerability has been violated. That crudeness, having had such a powerful influence upon them, is perceived by them as power and strength. They need to react to that violation with power and strength. Otherwise, they feel like they would crumble and be devastated. They decided that through this power and strength, they would take on those crude values as a defense, as an attempt to claim power for themselves. It is, of course, a facade.
You see this manifest in many forms in adolescence, and also in many adults who have never worked their way through it. They may take on a tough exterior, dress in rebellious ways, behave sarcastically, negatively, or crudely.
When children are young, parents naturally try to protect them from the dark, crude world. Children sense that protection as an affirmation that they are not yet adults. Children grow up. They want to be big. As a result of all this, they associate darkness with adulthood. Crudeness becomes the thing that is forbidden unless you are an adult. So, we can see that morbid, foul, and inappropriate dress and behavior becomes for the child a declaration that they are adults, that they are big, that they understand the world and that no one is pulling the wool over their eyes.
The best way for parents to deal with this is, number one, to understand it, to be aware of it. The light of awareness heals. Through that understanding, you can begin to work with it wisely. If you attack it directly, you may well prompt the child to defend, which would only compel them to act even more harshly. But how this is appropriately approached is not a cookbook. It depends upon the unique nature of the child, the parent, and their relationship.
Certainly in every case, the true adult is one who is capable of resting in and speaking from that place of vulnerability deep within. True strength is found in the refinement of the depth of your being, not in the crudeness that so many wear on the surface.
What a great blog. Never thought of it this way but it makes perfect sense now you’ve said it.
Makes a lot of good sense. The vulnerability in our babies is obvious. Curious how much of that has been “truly” worked through by myself and my “adult” friends and how much is just buried deep and covered up…
What do you mean by “true adult” ? Personally, I initially thought you said “true parent” 🙂
I have to say, in defense of parents, they are tackling and bravely enduring so much today, whole-heartedly being mature adults and good parents, that I don’t know how many, truly, have any time to consider this and especially engage their kids enough to help them adjust. The currents and forces that drive our lives, our children’s lives, are powerful and often overwhelming.
This is well said. It is a subject that is often not addressed. I appreciate it being presented so compassionately.
Good question regarding the term “true adults”. It is really a matter of degree, a continuum. When does an individual mature sufficiently to really look at their inner psychodynamic openly and wisely? As people progress in that direction, at some point we can think of them as true adults. Others may argue that time comes only upon enlightenment. Then again, it has been said that at that point, one may no longer legitimately be thought of as ‘human’. What is important is that we understand the process. Beyond that, it is just a matter of definitions.
Very insightful. Thank you.
It’s funny, now that I have a baby and have started reading different books on sleep, development, and parenting I was thinking how Maharshi needs to write a book on these subjects! But of course I have learned a lot to apply your teachings to this whole experience. And now I feel like I have gone from this feeling of not knowing at all what to do and how do I help this screaming baby to this wonderful understanding of her and the connection and understanding just grows deeper. And what is so crazy to me is to see her nervous system develop and the true importance and balance of Rest following activity. (Just like with meditation). But I still think a book about development and parenting would be awesome!
Very insightful, parenting sure does seem like an impossible task. Sometimes we get a small dose of that when the Visitor Center is full and chaotic. Or when people stay overnight and with their kids. I find myself having more and more respect for all the hard working parents out there doing there best to raise children in a difficult world.