On Parenthood

June 22nd, 2008

Previously, I had written about fatherhood and my wife, Lady Bella, wrote about motherhood. What remains is how to combine the two, which is necessary since “the masculine and the feminine dwell within all souls” (The Universal Doctrine).

Raising children, whether they be biological or astral, requires that one be a parent, not just a father or a mother. A balanced parent must be firm while being merciful and giving while teaching self-sufficience.

Children require both nurturing and discipline to grow. Plants, for example, need nurturing from the sun and the soil, along with the discipline provided by the wind and hard rain. If a plant lacks nourishment, it will starve and die. If it is undisciplined, a strong wind blowing in a storm will kill it. So it is with children. Their spirits and bodies must be nurtured, with discipline giving direction to their growth according to what will work best in the world to make them happy.

On the other hand, children should not have too much discipline or nurturing from their parents. If too much sustenance is given to a plant, it will drain the environment it lives in of essential minerals and not learn to adapt and be self-sufficient. Children who are given all they want will deplete their parents. Once the parents have given all they can, there is nothing left for either the parents or the child. This is a loss for everyone. The child will later be unable to care for themselves when the parents are too old to provide for them. If a child is disciplined too much or too harshly, they can be crushed in heart and spirit, rather than strengthened.

Our society is very conflicted in how it thinks children should be raised. It believes that there is a single best way to raise children to be productive and happy. Yet, at the same time, it believes that it doesn’t know what that best way is. This idea has been particularly popular since Benjamin Spock wrote The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care in 1946, though it is much older, dating back to the Fertile Crescent 10,000 years ago.

The result of these conflicted beliefs is that parents are chronically worried about whether they are being a “good mother” or a “good father.” They are told to raise their children according to a specific plan, which varies with the parenting fads. The problem with this is that it ignores both the child and the parents, for the supposed “good of the child.”

Contrary to Freudian theory, people are not born as a tabula rasa, a blank slate. They have a whole series of past lives spanning vast amounts of time. These past lives have significant influences on a child. As a result, a parenting style or technique that works great for one child may fail miserably with another, even within the same family.

We have three children in our family, the Princess, the Warrior and the Diplomat. In raising them, we’ve learned that each requires a different mixture in relation to discipline and nurturing.

The Princess is our eldest and we learned that the most effective form of discipline is chewing her out when she is naughty. We may threaten her with time-out, but we rarely need to actually put her in time-out. In the area of nurturing, she demands a huge amount and fiercely resists learning self-reliance. She wishes us to do everything for her and throws tantrums for even small pushes toward self-sufficiency. Even picking up a few toys herself after playing is too much, as she expects that we should always clean up after her. As a result, we need to go lighter on the form of discipline and heavy on not doing too much for her.

The Warrior, on the other hand, requires a different approach. He will frequently not respond to being chewed-out. He tests our boundaries and discipline frequently and will commonly require to be in time-out when he is naughty. As the Warrior, he will frequently misbehave while in time-out and needs to be physically restrained by us to prevent time-out from becoming a game or a joke. He is a lot more self-sufficient, though. When asked to pick up toys, he normally does so without complaint. He isn’t eager and sometimes needs pushing, but the resistance is not nearly as high as with the Princess. He frequently will push us away from helping him, saying, “I can do it by myself.” These are words we never hear from the Princess. The result is that for the Warrior, our methods of discipline are heavier, but we go lighter on pushing self-reliance.

Then there is the Diplomat, who requires yet another combination of discipline and nurturing. He is quite young yet, only 21 months, so we are still learning about his personality. He is the most self-reliant of the three, even though he still wants a lot of nursing and cuddling with his mother. If we ask one of the other children to help clean, he will eagerly jump in and do it instead. He insists on doing things himself more than the other two, which can be dangerous at times. It even leads to requiring discipline to prevent him from hurting himself, which he does frequently. Talking firmly to him is frequently not enough to discipline him, but he is not as physically resistant as the Warrior. He needs short, periodic time-outs, but he does not misbehave as extremely as the Warrior. Overall, his method of effective discipline is in between the Princess and the Warrior and he is the one we go the lightest on with being self-sufficient.

Since I am a parent to all three children, I work to learn how to balance the masculine and the feminine aspects with each of them. That balance point is different for each child and it is part of the challenge of being a parent to find and adjust that point as needed.

As I developed as a parent, I’ve started seeing other parents differently. I have learned that when I see someone parenting their children in a way that I might not prefer, that it may not be wrong for them. Their child is different than mine, with a different history of past lives and a different history in this lifetime. Same with the parent. I have learned to be less judgmental of other parents.

I have also learned to see single parents and homosexual parents in different lights. A single parent must very quickly learn to develop and embody both the mother and the father to their child. If they don’t, the child will be very unbalanced and the family will not be happy. Being single is an enormous burden on the parent, especially considering that they must provide for the family at the same time as raising the child. On the bright side, it can also bless her or him with a perspective on balancing the two aspects of parenthood within herself or himself that parental couples don’t attain nearly as quickly.

Homosexual and transsexual parents also have to learn the parental balance differently. Society ascribes different roles and energy to each parent based on their physical sex. Homosexual parents must modify these roles to succeed. Due to the unique nature of male-male and female-female energies, I expect the process of finding the balance point within each parent and between the two parents might be different than the process heterosexual couples experience.

Transsexual parents have the additional challenge of navigating their parental transformation along with their personal transformation. This parental transformation may occur at a different time than their physical transformation and would give them a particularly insightful understanding on the balance between the gender aspects.

To be a parent is to be both a father and a mother within yourself. You may tend to one aspect or the other based on your child’s needs and your situation, but you cannot have a happy family with only one aspect. The exact point of this balance takes lifetimes to truly understand, especially considering that it is a moving target with each child. The challenge and joy of parenthood is experimenting and learning where it is and how to best embody it.


6 Responses to “On Parenthood”

  1. Annette (MaidenElf) Says:

    I wonder… is there a Parents’ Tarot? It seems like there should be, because I frequently feel like the Fool stepping off the proverbial precipice. Thanks for the great post! By the way, how do you figure out what type (or archetype?) your children fit into, ie Princess, Warrior, Diplomat, etc? Is this a system of your own making or did you use some sort of resource? Blessings to you and your family! 🙂 ME

  2. Morninghawk Says:

    I don’t know of any Parents’ Tarot, though I think it would be quite interesting if someone designed one.

    The archetypes I use to name my kids publicly is based simply on my intuition and their personalities.

    There are a number of systems out there, though, for determining personality archetypes (such as Gods in Everyman and Goddesses in Everywoman, both written by Jean Shinoda Bolen).

    Thanks for the comment and bright blessings to you and yours.

  3. Annette (MaidenElf) Says:

    Ah! Thanks for the info and book recommendations. *Running to the library website*

    🙂

  4. Morninghawk Says:

    Your welcome. I’m glad I could help.

  5. Jaspenelle Says:

    I just came across your website exploring from “Pagan Dad” and simply wanted to say I really enjoyed reading this post. It is nice to run across other Pagan parents.

  6. Morninghawk Says:

    Thanks. It seems that us Pagan parents are a scarce breed. Many Pagans I know who have children don’t blend their religion with their parenting very much. Thanks for stopping by.

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