“Do as I say, not as I do.”
– prelude to Human extinction
If only a child's mind could recognize the insanity on which it depends for guidance.
Sigh But no, that's not how it works.
Ill-fated mind, there are so many examples of how your conceptual/actual myopia perpetuates your unenlightenment. Take the concept of enlightenment for instance. As much as you yearn for whatever you imagine it could be, you ensure it won't happen – as you indulge an unenlightened mental interaction with reality.
Or the ego. Is this something you're trying to squelch? So what faculty would you use to judge what you conceive as the ego to be insufferable and in need of suppression? Would that be your actual ego?
Or time. Admittedly, the concept of 7:00 p.m. Friday is very handy for making a date with the hottie you just met. So long as the Earth continues its pirouetting waltz around the Sun's gravity well and Humans keep synchronizing their reality flow measuring devices and abiding by their promises, you might even have your date. But insisting on the actuality of conceptual time? You know damned well, though you won't admit it, what misapprehension and misery can result from believing the future should play out as you envision it, or that what happened in the past could have been different. Such rich fuel to keep your discontentment burning.
Or reality itself. You assign it a noun, and then pretend it is one – though your definition could never apply to anything more than your concept of it. Nouns are so much easier to conceptually manage. But no matter how stable reality may seem from your fleeting perspective, it never lingers in any form long enough to be constrained by something so permanent as a noun. So what universal verb do you have with which to understand the endless transcendence of actuality?
And so on. So goes your efforts to confine your understanding of reality to what you can comfortably conceive of it, and your suffering the adversity of an unenlightened existence.
But what does all this conceptual posturing matter when your very existence is at stake, Human mind? The oversight that will surely doom you to evolutionary pointlessness is the failure to distinguish your conceptual caricature of a child from the miracle of humanity and life that child actually is. Of all the life forms you could devalue, neglect, and abuse, why would you choose this one – the realization of what humanity is becoming?
Is humanity becoming utterly incapable of nurturing itself into well-being?
Seems so, doesn't it, when you take stock of the overpopulation, environmental degradation and poisoning, mass extinction, wars, economic and social disparity, and all the other grim prospects Humans have wrought. The adults that commit these crimes against the potential welfare of humanity and life on Earth are the children you have raised.
Actually, humanity seems to be surviving remarkably well considering it trusts its children to the care of the insane (Yes, maybe too well in the view of most other life forms except cockroaches and viruses).
Do you think, amnesic adult mind, Human continuance may be due to the remarkable resilience and coping ability of children, despite inept parenting? And when is it that you learned how to parent? In your failure to remember and appreciate the actuality of Human development, you squander the potential embodied in a child for humanity to better its condition rather than merely maintain or foolishly worsen it.
Humanity's welfare doesn't exist in the form of abstract statistics, something you would study from an office, or social policy you would legislate, learned mind. The reality of it plays out in the developing consciousness of every child. What more immediate and precious form of reality could you hope to find to motivate the nurturance and enlightenment of humanity?
* * *
“Like it's that easy. Raising a child is one of the most challenging tasks any Human could undertake.”
Challenging? Having trouble raising your child? The little Human won't behave according to your expectations? Are your expectations by any chance based on your conceptions of how a child should behave? Are you trying to deny the reality of your child's behavior for your own convenience? The trouble and vexation you would blame on the child is actually a manifestation of your failure to understand what a developing Human needs to flourish.
All behavior is an interactive response to developing conditions that will require further response. You, the experienced adult, are more conscious than your child of developing conditions and are responsible for the conditions your child encounters and responds to. So the conduct you witness in your child, agreeable or ill-tempered, is direct feedback about your child's development and is largely a consequence of your behavior, not the child's. And your child, embodying far more intelligence than you would assign to the little person, is watching your every move – learning through personal experience, albeit unconsciously, how humanity is to behave – and be treated.
This parent/child condition/response teaching/learning system is highly sensitive to conceptual/actual discernment. For instance, when you react negatively to your child's behavior (and trying to ignore it is a negative reaction) because it doesn't conform to your unexamined concept that a child should behave well under any conditions, you not only invite a negative response in your child, but teach that this is an appropriate response to adverse conditions, and that it's to be expected of Human behavior. Or better, as you are able to discern the limitations of your experience and sketchy understanding of your child's needs, the more likely you are to seek, recognize, and foster the conditions that would meet these needs, and effect a more favorable development – and teach your child that Humans can very well see to the needs of other Humans.
The consequences of your behavior accumulate in your child's behavior like compounding interest, or debt, to the balance of Human well-being. It starts before birth and comes due upon independent adulthood. The older the child, the more complex the needs, yet also the less dependent on your influence, so a good beginning favors a good outcome. A toddler's tantrum for example, is already several condition/response layers deep into a parent's failure to understand the changing needs of a particular developing child. The sullen or rebellious teenager? Forget it – it's far too late to influence the conditions that would avert such a response to conditions by a young adult Human. The best you can do now is relate to your teenager as a completely independent person worthy of the compassion, respect, and support you would wish to have received yourself as a developing person. Had you done this all along, perhaps you would be feeling much more pride than relief or anxiety as your child leaves your sphere of influence – and you fade into evolutionary obsolescence.
But no matter your child's age or temperament, it's never too late to value your child's humanity above your own – because reality does: where reality is going with the evolution of humanity is more valuable than where it's been. Your child's behavior is all about the needs of humanity to evolve, and just as emotions are of truthful reality because they happen to you, so is the behavior of a child. It's happening. Are you listening? Cheerful or cantankerous, do you see the wisdom of it? (And please, overwhelmed parental mind, do not make the dreadful mistake of assuming that your child's mind is wiser or more discerning than yours about what humanity needs to improve its condition.) What is this behavior telling you about what you need to learn of the Human condition, that this child, with your guidance, may learn to improve it?
Done well, raising a child is the most inspiring and joyous task any Human could hope to be blessed with. The challenging part, ill-nurtured mind, is consistently overcoming your conceptually conditional response enough to recognize the actual wonder and promise you hold in your arms.
So ask yourself, as you look into the hopeful eyes of a child, what is the future of humanity asking of me? Then you may respond with discerning and unselfish love.