“Whether we oppress or liberate our children in our relationships with them will determine whether they grow up to oppress and be oppressed or to liberate and be liberated.”
The role of nurture has been known, for a very long time, as pivotal in the development of children through to adulthood. Patterns for later life are set early on.
We develop our concepts of the world from our experience of family. These concepts are informed somewhat by our other experiences, but family is the origin of our learning.
The best developed kids are those who are given peaceful and stimulating households. Those that struggle must wrangle with varying forms and levels of abuse and neglect, none of which is their fault at all. Often the parents, too, may parent out of their damage. (We’ve all made those mistakes.)
Learning About Power And Justice
If there are power struggles within the home our children are bound to be imprinted in some way by the authoritarian nature they come to expect of relationships. They will experience a tussle, and varying imbalances, between submission and aggression, flight and fight.
But when the threads of fairness and justice are felt, tugging firmly, fairly and evenly within the family, both of which are based in the safety of reliability, children thrive. Here they might learn, by their dealings with respectful (though not ‘friendly’) parents, how to respect others.
When power and justice play out evenly, and there is no subversion of double standards by the parents, children feel safe and they know this way is the best way. They, like us, know it by instinct. Nobody likes double standards. Parents are not more special, or more deserving of power, and they can receive respect very easily by behaving as adults with their children.
Learning About Peace And Compassion
When children coexist in a peaceful home, where power and justice are balanced, there is a blossoming of compassion. And if they are allowed to suffer their losses in their way, even more is their empathy developed.
Character is forged most healthily when there is freedom within known boundaries. When kids have plenty of scope to learn about life within the seedbed of family their peace facilitates the spiritual knowledge of compassion—they can feel.
And compassion, it can be argued, is one of the glorious keys to connection with an external world. Because peace is experienced, and compassion can be felt, truth-filled meaning is derived, and purpose is known.
Family is the origin of learning. It’s where power and justice, and peace and compassion, may first be learned. Where there is respect there is safety, and where there is peace, compassion may blossom.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.