I've been stewing over this article ever since I first wrote it. It almost
sounds as if I know it all, but all us old farts know that age doesn't
confer wisdom. Perhaps life should always be … uhm, so amusing. One's
inner search is nothing short of sisyphean.
But parenting is not just about what one can do for your children. They add
a bit to the broth too, and what better way to learn the value of patience
(and to demostrate how little you have), just raise a couple of kids.
I found it annoying when my daughter would interrupt my morning rituals,
but how good is my sophic thoughts if I'm so easily catapulted from my
cushion? I've not only worked through that, but now actually enjoy it when
she enters my room, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and plops
herself down on my lap while I'm meditating… and let's not forget how in
my house, yoga is a contact sport.
Philosophy and Parenting
I was taking pictures of my children playing with a huge yoga ball, when I
accidentally snapped a picture of the ball in front of a Buddha statue I
have in my yard. We know the cliché a picture is worth a thousand words,
but in this case, the contrast between the serenity of the statue
and the surrounding greenery with the incompatible and inharmonious blue ball
inspired a thousand words. I guess that is what happens with the
collision of two worlds.
Sometimes my world of "being a parent" collides with my philosophical world
with all its Buddhist leanings. I'm intrigued with the lies. First there
are the ones where you dumb-down an answer for your five-year old until it
just isn't true. But those aren't nearly as despicable as the real whoppers
involving Santa Claus and other magical beings on high.
But what about the more subtle yet more subversive interactions where we
encourage and nurture a fledgling ego, all the while knowing what a pain in
the ass that ego will become. My philosophy has altered over the years, and
I would recommend Nietzsche and Ayn Rand to teenagers just
starting out the gate, but with the caveat that either of those
philosophies will eventually putter out.
Then they should move on to Existentialism, but this too can't be
taken to its conclusion.
I think it is a good goal for each person to
evaluate their being regularly and take their soul to greener pastures.
Finding meaning for your life is a worthwhile, but constant goal.
Eventually life settles down a bit, and, at least for me, so does your
philosophy. Now I'm finding Buddhism and Taoism enricheing soil wasted
by the American Dream.
But I don't think you can come to it early in life-- a young person
wouldn't appreciate it.
And here is where parenting is so tricky. For this is just one example of
something you almost have to hold back from your children, and let them
fluff their ego and trump their confidence. Let them go out to battle the
world for stuff, and when the air has been kicked from them, perhaps then
it is time to bring out the really good stuff.
Or just let them discover it for themselves.
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