Parenting The Spark
Raising small humans is tough, and now you have to think about their Spark too!?
We get it. You’re doing the hardest job in the world, and it doesn’t come with a handbook. We’re here to help you find more meaning, pleasure and purpose from your role as a parent, with a side-helping of happier kids. Win-win!
Children and their parents have a lot to contend with these days. From mounting academic pressures to mental health concerns, worries about the future, friendship fallouts and the effects of social media, parenting has never been more complex or more exhausting.
The constant merry-go-round of just getting through each day, with all its activities, to-do lists and battles with your child, can end up sucking the joy out of this role that you so wanted to undertake. Added to that, being a parent or guardian often brings up a lot of our own childhood stuff (whether we realise it or not), and in the rush to do better than our parents and in the overwhelming desire to give our kids the world, something ends up getting overlooked.
While your children will undoubtedly tell you that what they want is the latest iPhone, the newest games console or the designer labels they saw on Instagram, what they actually want is to be seen. Truly seen. To be recognised in their entirety, which means recognising their Spark, their deepest essence within, beyond the human shell which makes them appear to be a small child with little knowledge or experience of the world.
If children were asked the right questions, and if we really listened, what they might say they really want is to be happy, to be valued, to be able to be themselves and share their gifts with the world. They want to be respected, to be recognised as having an intrinsic worth, beyond their image, their latest gadgets, exam results or sports accolades. Isn’t that what we all want?
Shifting Our Perspective on Parenting
To shift our perspective about what our children really want, we must also shift our perspective about who they really are. Our societies have led us to believe that children are born as empty vessels, devoid of any intelligence, ready to be imprinted upon by the world. Any parent will tell you that is categorically untrue. Even tiny infants have immeasurable presence, a sense of knowing and a growing personality from the moment they are born. They are imbued with an intelligence that is beyond our human minds.
If supported, children can retain this knowing and connection to who they really are, along with their sense of wonder and joy for life, and their ability to be themselves in their entirety, without self-consciousness or self-reproach.
When we shift from parenting our child in the old model of transiting them safely from birth to adulthood, to instead parenting their Spark, a new journey unfolds that brings a deeper sense of purpose and meaning than the role we played before.
Parenting the Spark
Parenting the Spark starts with parenting our own Spark, as to ignite the Spark in others, first we have to find it within ourselves. It can’t be faked or merely talked about, but must be felt and experienced. It requires of us to know ourselves more deeply, so that we can create space to meet our child at a deeper level. Recognising when our ego is in play and when we are reacting from fear or stress, or responding to our child when our own ‘stuff’ is triggered, is the foundation of an authentic relationship with children, who tend to instinctively know when they are being dismissed, blamed, fobbed off or placated.
Creating space to connect within requires us to commit to creating moments of presence with our children. While it may sound faddy to meditate together or be ‘mindful’, the act of being completely in the moment with a child is the gold of adult-child relationships. The process of slowing down our thinking, setting our phone and to-do list to one side, and focusing our whole being on the child is an immeasurable gift. This is the act of really seeing your child and demonstrating that they are worthy of our full attention.
Being a parent or guardian means parenting the whole child: their human-side with all their demands, tantrums, random questions and refusal to go to bed, alongside parenting their soul-side, which is full of deep joy, creativity, and catch-you-off-guard wisdom. It’s an evolving role for sure, and while we’ll never be perfect at rolling out the right parenting skills for whichever bit of our child we encounter from one moment to the next, we can commit to going inward, recognising our ego and finding our Spark, to model, teach and normalise this process.
What does this look like? Adults consciously creating safe spaces to nurture children’s Sparks, and co-creating those spaces with children. Adults using and normalising the language of the Spark, talking about energy and ego. It looks like adults valuing and developing children’s inner worlds in balance with their outer worlds, caring about how kids feel, their intuition, honouring the wisdom and insight they’re bringing to the table and a whole lot more.
Imagine what a difference it might make if this became one of our primary roles as parents: to commit to our Spark, our own inner wisdom, presence, joy and power, so our children can do the same.
What tips do you have for parenting the Spark and creating a deeper, more conscious relationship with your child? Share your suggestions with the Spark community over on our Facebook page!
Hi, I'm Nikki
I created The Spark when I realised I’d lost touch with my own inner light, buried under years of over-work and overwhelm. After witnessing far too many children becoming smaller versions of themselves, shrinking back, disconnecting and becoming disillusioned, I’m on a mission to ignite my Spark to help children to find theirs, changing the way we nurture small humans into being.
What started as a journey of self-discovery is growing into a global movement to create a better childhood for all children and young people. Will you join me?
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