Chris Cade's Blog » Conscious Parenting

How Do I Do It?

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

As an entrepreneur & father, it is very challenging to do what I’ve done…

First, to nearly abandon the approach I’ve taken to serving you for nearly a decade.

And secondly, to be a single full-time father while doing it.

It’s taken courage, ingenuity, faith, and a whole lot more.

In that spirit, I thought I’d share with you two articles on the Patreon blog which featured me…

And it explores some of the ways I’ve handled those two challenges while being of service to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    How Patreon Helps Creators Do What They Love

  1. The Patreon Creator’s Guide To Managing Work And Family
  2. I hope you enjoy them, and more importantly, I hope that these articles & the wisdom that I (and others) share are helpful to you in your own life!

Helping Kids Learn Life Skills By Playing Games

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’ve been a “gamer” my entire life. ๐Ÿ™‚

As a kid, I played Big Boggle with my father. He would give me a handicap so that I could actually go toe-to-toe with him.

That is…

Until…

I became a teenager. Then he “took the gloves off.” ๐Ÿ™‚

That didn’t stop me. He hasn’t beaten me at a game of Boggle since I was 14.

Now the tradition of gaming in my family continues with my son.

We’ve been playing games since he was 3 years old.

It started with Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, and The Ladybug Game. Then he got bored. I tried making the games more complex, minimizing the luck, and maximizing thinking skills.

That worked for a limited time.

There’s still only so many ways to modify Candyland for a luckier-than-is-realistically-believable kid who picks up new games at lightning speed! ๐Ÿ™‚

When he was four, I taught him Monopoly Jr. That lasted a few months before he graduated to Chess, regular Monopoly, and Catan Jr.

That lasted briefly until he evolved to play regular Catan

(Catan is now the most played game in our family.)

No matter what games I bring into his life, he picks them up super-fast, plays well, and combined with his incredible luck makes him a real gaming force to be reckoned with.

Even though it’s years later and we still play Catan, other games that we enjoy are Coup, Magic: The Gathering, poker, and Splendor.

So why am I sharing this with you?

Simple…

You probably have kids in your life. Yours may be grown up, so you might have some grandkids. Maybe you never had kids, though perhaps have some nieces or nephews, or kids at your church.

My hope is that if you’re not already encouraging them to play games, that today’s message from me opens up the door for some new possibilities.

What I’ve come to realize about most of the games he’s played is that they helped him develop key skills in life.

The first is how to be a gracious loser and a humble winner. In games, no matter how good we get, there will always be somebody better or luck will turn against us. No matter how bad we may be, we can get lucky. There’s possibilities everywhere in between.

(kind of like life)

I’ve also noticed that as we play more complex games, they support a growth mindset. He continually receives the message that, no matter how the game goes, he can improve his skills and therefore improve his odds of winning in the future. Yes, luck helps. And, luck will only take somebody so far.

(kinda of like life)

As for specific games…

Monopoly helped him learn basic math: addition, subtraction, and multiplication. He learned to evaluate risk vs. reward and make choices based on timing (where somebody was on the board in relation to his properties). He learned negotation.

Chess helped him learn to think more than one step ahead.

Catan took all of that to the next level, while at the same time, teaching him resource management and allocation, probability of outcomes, and how to be diplomatic with others.

Magic: The Gathering is probably the most complex game in the world. And the lessons are so deep that it would take me an entire book to explain (and I’ve considered writing such a book).

That all said, at the heart of everything above is one simple core idea:

We learn best when we’re having fun.

That’s why, whenever possible, I’ve tried to teach my son through games.

I’ve even considered creating some mindful / spiritual / personal development games. I may still do that.

For now, my hope is that on this journey of personal transformation —

We can all bring a little bit of lightness to the kids in our lives, while at the same time, teaching them valuable life skills that they don’t even know they’re learning. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting, Video

I have a son, and it seems like he’s growing up so fast. “Just yesterday” he was barely learning to crawl…

Then “the other day” he learned how to speak…

Not literally. That was actually years ago. But it seems like it was just yesterday and that’s what today’s video is all about.

And even though the story is about a mother and her daughter, at its heart this is a message for all of us to remember the simple things in life.

Note: The touching video was made by Gretchen Rubin, author of best-selling book “The Happiness Project.” She wrote the book to chronicle her experiences with testing out all the “tried and true” methods that people say would help her find happiness.


As you can see by this video, one of the things that really worked for her was learning how to more effectively appreciate the present moment, regardless of how mundane it might seem.

Today, This Made Me Cry…

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

What I’m about to share with you is a raw and vulnerable experience that happened to me today.

First, I’ll start with the unedited private Facebook post I wrote:


Jesus christ. I’m nearly in tears right now…

Tech problems abound, so I’m working at Starbucks where I can get a good WiFi connection.

Woman sits down next to me to talk with their friend. She’s got a little girl, maybe 4 years old.

And the only thing they’ve been talking about for 10 minutes is about recent public safety issues…

Specifically, that they heard over a police scanner that there was a local shooting and her kid’s school didn’t notify her immediately.

Then she goes on to talk about stabbings nearby. More shootings that happened when her kids were younger.

All the while braiding her little girl’s hair.

Yes, I could say something. No, I won’t.

My inner guidance isn’t giving me the “Yes” that these particular people will be open to the possibility that subjecting their kids to this kind of passive emotional violence isn’t good for them.

Some people don’t understand how much this kind of negative world view affects their children (and themselves).

Writing this has helped some. Still very sad because I know this isn’t what I would choose for any child to be exposed to. It’s just not necessary.


The thing is, a few moments later my inner guidance DID tell me exactly what to do.

The answer?

Write a heartfelt letter to the friend of the daughter’s mother.

I didn’t have any notebooks on me, so I grabbed a folded up printout I had and tore off enough blank paper to write.

After writing it, I handed it to the woman, looked her in the eye, and wished her a Merry Christmas. I looked at the mother in the eyes, smiled, and wished her a Merry Christmas. Then I looked at the girl, smiled, and wished her a Merry Christmas.

Here’s the letter I wrote (if you can’t read it, scroll down for the text and the rest of the story):

Hello ๐Ÿ™‚

Please forgive my terrible handwriting and if my message is not welcome. What I want to share feels important, and I didn’t want to bring it up in front of a young girl.

My heart feels sad hearing about all the violence in the world. And when I heard the conversation about local shootings and stabbings, I felt very sad for the girl who was hearing it all.

My worry is that she might grow up feeling scared of public places, even school, because of conversations and TV news specifically about violence.

My hope is that by sharing my feelings with you, we can help this little girl feel more safe in the world.

Again, I am sorry if this message is not welcome. I am also sorry that my handwriting is so bad!

I have a 10 year old son.

-Chris

P.S. Even if this has no effect on you, I wish you and your families a joyous holiday season!


After handing her the letter, I walked out the door. Got in my car. Drove home.

I cried all the way home.

And I prayed for a miracle.

Forcing Kids Against Their Will

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

The other day there was a pic of a little girl on Facebook with the following caption:

“I am 5. My body is my body. Don’t force me to kiss or hug.

I am learning about consent and your support on this will help keep me safe for the rest of my life.”

Though it has a pic of a little girl, the same lesson applies to boys.

That’s why growing up I never made my son give other people physical affection. I always told him it was his choice, and he didn’t have to if he didn’t want to.

Yes, I made him acknowledge people with greetings and goodbyes.

Yes, I did my best to make him speak and act respectfully.

As my family members will attest, there were many days without hugs or kisses. Sometimes we had “good days” with high fives. Hugs are now a sometime thing. That’s a huge improvement.

Not because he “should” “give” hugs and kisses, but rather, because it shows a deepening connection and all that comes with it.

Still, there are times when I instinctively want to kiss my son on the forehead goodnight. The only way I can describe it is that my heart overflows with love and that response is instinctive.

That was fine for a while. Until he said it wasn’t. He didn’t want to be kissed anymore. It took me a few weeks of him reminding me afterwards, and me apologizing, to break the habit.

The instinct is still there.

Of course it is. As humans we want to connect. It’s one of our deepest drives.

As parents, we can feel concerned if our children don’t want that physical connection. I know I felt that concern.

It’s okay though.

As we build relationships with little ones, their hearts also know how to overflow. And when it does, there’s no more fulfilling kind of similar connection.

Rather than telling our kids to give hugs and kisses goodnight, even to us, my hope is that we change the conversation:

That we ask the little ones what they want. Then they decide who, what, when, where, and why they want to be touched.

Sure, we can tell them what we want. That’s fine. We can say “I would really love to give you a hug tonight.” We might even let them know we feel sad or happy about that in ways and tones of voice that don’t suggest guilt, blame, or shame for not complying with our request.

In that moment, we teach our children personal power. It is that very same power to say “no” sets the stage for later in life when other people try to impose their will on our children.

Did we teach our littlest ones to learn, know, and enforce their their own boundaries?

Or did we teach them that adults and “others” are the controllers and owners of those little bodies?

When my son grows to be a man, if he wants to be in a physically intimate relationship, I hope that he has positive experiences. For his happiness, I hope that he finds a fulfilling and long-lasting relationship.

It all starts with that first initiation: be it holding hands, a hug, or even a kiss.

What if the other person says no? What if the person of his affection rejects him the way I was countless and painful times?

My hope is that he deeply understands, unconsciously that “no means no.”

What if my son is ever put in a compromising situation?

My hope is that he says “no” and enforces that boundary.

What if my son hears about somebody else being violated or even put in an uncompromising situation… or is witness to it?

My hope is that he stands up with and for that person. This is especially relevant if that other person wasn’t raised to understand “enthusiastic consent” (or doesn’t have the strength and self-confidence needed to enforce boundaries).

As a white male with many female friends of all races, I have come to see just how much easier it is to do that as a man in our society. We have been raised to be strong, speak our minds, and to set and enforce boundaries.

Can we truly expect men to do that if we are forcing them to touch other people when they don’t want to?

For our little girls…

Who our society for so many centuries has expected and even enforced compliance…

Can we truly expect them to say “no” to unwanted sexual advances when we forced them to say “yes” for so many years of their youth?

Yes, as a parent I know the concerns that come with children who don’t hug and kiss. We have fears such as:

  • “What will other people think of me as a parent if my child isn’t affectionate with them?”
  • “What if my child never wants a hug or kiss? What’s wrong with my child?”
  • “How will my child feel my love?”
  • “How will my kid get the positive endorphins associated with hugs and physical touch?”
  • “What’s wrong with me… that my kid doesn’t want to be touched?”
  • “What if my kiids don’t learn important lessons about family and connection?”

The list of fears goes on, and some of them are valid. In a society that rewards compliance and connection, there are people who may judge us because our children don’t conform to -their- expectations of physical connection.

Those people may try to guilt trip us or our children into hugs and kisses.

Do we really want our youngest little ones to grow up believing that the best way to get what we want is coercion through guilt and shame?

That’s not the world I want to live in. It’s not the world I want my son to grow up in. And it’s not the world I want anybody else to ever have to live in.

Still, the people who say that making our kids hug and kiss other adults teaches them something are right:

It teaches them compliance.

Unfortunately, teaching compliance along with forced affection can cause them to also believe things like “no is just a suggestion.” It can enocurage them to ignore their inner guidance and not listen to their bodies.

There are other ways to teach compliance and conformity that still encourage individuality, and where appropriate, respectful confrontation. Let’s not make forced affection one of them.

Instead of forced affection, we have another option: “Enthusiastic Consent.”

Recently among people advocating for rape awareness, this idea of enthusiastic consent is being advocated for. It’s seen as one of the ways to reduce non-violent rapes.

Instead of requiring or expecting a person to say “no” to something they don’t want, we instead require a “yes” before moving forward.

Enthusiastic consent is especially helpful in situations where a person’s judgment may be impaired: Whether they’re drunk or high, don’t have the confidence to say no, or even when there was consent and the intimacy escalates into unwanted territory. Making sure that all people actively say “YES” to deepening sexual intimacy helps prevent date rape or feeling pressured into sex.

Here’s a short 2 1/2 minute video that compares having tea… to having sex.

Simply put: if it’s not a clear and enthusiastic yes, it’s a no.

We say we want that for adults, yet we force (or shame) our kids to hug and kiss. When we do that, we send them the message that consent is optional. We send them the message that consent does not need to be enthusiastic.

Our kids are looking at us to know what consent is.

So when it comes to hugs and kisses with the kids in our lives – be it our own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even friends of the family…

Let’s model “enthusiastic consent” from the earliest days of their lives that we can.

Let’s teach them to listen to their bodies.

Let’s teach them how to enforce the boundaries the need to understand and respect their own individuality.

Let’s teach them that mutual respect can feel kind and safe.

And above all…

Let’s teach them that we love them regardless of whether or not they comply to our requests.


“Enthusiastic consent” with regards to the kids in my life giving physical affection is one way that I am voting for goodness in the world.

How will you cast your next vote?

[Part 2] Real Conversations With My Son

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

Last time I shared some of the conversations my son and I have, two things happened:

People found some wisdom they could bring into their own lives…

And they got a good laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚

So without further ado, here's a few more from ages 5 to 9…

With Love,
Chris
 


"Seeing Things As They Are" (age 5)

My son, sister, and I were playing with Legos. She says, "I found a Knight's Horse. What does this connect to?"

My son replies non-chalantly…

"Probably a knight."


"Being In The Moment" (age 5)

While roughhousing with my son, we had a pause moment where he landed in my arms in a cradled position.

I jokingly started singing, "Hush Little Baby" and rocking him — just the same way I did when he was a little baby.

He slowed down and calmed immediately.

Then I said, "I used to do this when you were a little kid."

He sweetly replied, "I remember that…"

Then he beat me senselessly with a pillow.


"You Create Your Own Reality" (age 5)

While starting to play Backgammon and…

After having not played in many years, I couldn't remember the rules.

Me: "I don't know how to play. You don't know how to play… how do you think this is going to turn out?"

Son: "However we want it to!"


"Placing Blame Squarely Where It Doesn't Lie" (age 6)

My son had been in my room goofing off.

On the way out, he trips over one of *his* board games and says to me:

"AH! I guess your room is pretty messy…"


"How To Bake" (age 7)

My son looks at his laundry basket. "It's full daddy."

Me: "Remind me to do your laundry in the morning, otherwise you'll be a naked little boy."

Son: "I like that! I'm not going to remind you. I'll wear a t-shirt and underwear."

*pause*

Son: "How are clothes made?"

Me: "From plants that are woven into threads and into clothes. We can look it up on YouTube tomorrow."

*pause*

Son: "And we can look up how to make cakes, too."

Me: "Yes, we can."

Son: "I know the ingredients. Eggs and Love. The two main ingredients. Oh, and frosting."


"Finding The Silver Lining" (age 7)

My sister had been visiting for a few days with her little chihuahua.

My Sis: "I did not need this today."

Son: "The dog got out again?"

My Sis: "Yes."

Son: "Well at least you got some exercise."


"More, More, More" (age 9)

Whenever we split something, my son always wants the larger portion – be it a drink, dessert, or slices of pizza.

Recently we were at a restaurant and I split a root beer for us. He picked the cup with slightly more.

So I asked him…

"What would your life be like if you weren't always trying to get the most of something?"

In a very simple way, he says:

"Still pretty good."

Ryan's unforgettable Mother's Day delivery to Mom

This Is What Happens When A Son “Pays Back” His Mother… (Try Not To Cry!)

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

From the original video post…

This real mom living in Moreno Valley, CA can’t hold back her tears when she’s surprised with the Mother’s Day gift of a lifetime from her son Ryan, hand-delivered by Teleflora.

I also had tears in my eyes while watching this. It’s powerful, touching, and honestly what all commercials should be…

REAL.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

[Parents Only] What Makes You the Best Parent?

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

Great Parenting ShowSince this message truly is for parents only, if you don't have children then you can totally skip it. ๐Ÿ™‚

And regardless of whether you're a parent or not, please forward this message on to any parents you know who, like me, are passionate about being the best parents they can be.

Now if you are a parent…

Are there certain things about parenting that have eluded you that you wish you had answers to? Things like how to:

  • Discipline your child without ruining his or her self-esteem?
  • Help your child be successful, both academically and socially?
  • Get quick and easy nutritious meals on the table?
  • Protect your children from the dangers of cyberspace?
  • Teach your children the skills they need to avoid bullying, and to stand up when they see it happening?
  • Teach your children about money and responsibility?

If you've wondered the answers to any of these questions, you're not alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

(oh believe me, you're not alone!)

With cell phones, computer access, changing educational requirements, a global economy, a world view and yet isolation in our neighborhoods and communities, parenting can sometimes be a confusing and downright daunting task. It was challenging before and now there's so much more complexity.

Fortunately, the internet HAS created greater access to information of all kinds, including parenting. It's also helping us connect to other kinds of resources and experts in ways that previously were just not possible. It's giving us opportunities to reach out and bridge all those challenges in real, practical, personal, and accessible ways.

On that note, I am grateful to officially announce my "coming out" into the parenting space.

I'll be creating a new website, resources, and programs, to help support parents in their unique, challenging, and very rewarding adventures. And as part of this "coming out," I'm going to be a featured speaker on the upcoming FREE "Great Parenting Show" hosted by Jacqueline Green.

Click Here Now And Start Improving Your Parenting

The Great Parenting Show is now in its 5th season, and Jacqueline has invited over 25 leading experts in parenting related fields to share their wisdom, humor, and more importantly, their approaches, on just how to most effectively parent our children in these quick changing times.

I will be speaking alongside experts such as Dr. John Gray, Marie Diamond, Laura Silva, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Tana Amen, Shelly Lefkoe, and my dear dear friend Farhana Dhalla (who has inspired, supported, and "nudged" me to bring my parenting work to a larger audience).

I really feel that being a great parent isn't just about having good strategies to help your kids "grow up," it's also about growing ourselves as people… and allowing our transformations to be the examples, foundations, and mediums by which we raise great kids.

That's why I'm grateful to know that in addition to some of the basic "how to get your kid to do what you want" kinds of topics that all parents want answers to, some of the speakers will also focus on on helping you take the edge off of overwhelm and stress, feel more calm and energized, bring more fun and joy into your family's life, and of course give you tools to parent with confidence and easy.

And when I take the virtual stage, I will be speaking about "The Myth of Perfect Parenting: Why Your Self-Critical Thoughts Prevent You From Being the Best Parent and How to Overcome Them."

I've been told that I'll also be fielding live questions, so if you've ever wanted to pick my brain about parenting this will be the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

I've been wanting to share my parenting perspectives with a larger audience for years, and the time was never quite right. Now that time has come, and I hope that you and other parents will join me in this wonderful, mysterious, rewarding, and oh-so-challenging adventure. Click the button below to get all the call-in details!

Register for the Great Parenting Show

Just in case you can't make the live calls, they'll be recorded. So for a couple days after each show, you'll be able to listen to the replays for free as well.

And if you know any parents who would benefit from a resource like this, please forward this email on to them or click the links below to share it on Facebook.

There Is Only Now – Yoga Parenting

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

Special thanks to Ria Sharon of Yoga Parenting for this guest post!


  Yoga Parenting Course

I have this picture taped to my wall as a reminder to stay “present” with my kids. How can we release all of the baggage of the future and the past with our kids?

When a tantrum is unfolding in the present, is my mind jumping ahead to my 16-year old whoโ€™s running away from home? Or, is my mind re-living what would have happened had I sassed my grandmother the way my daughter is doing?

I take a deep breath. It’s amazing how ten seconds โ€“ just one inhale and one exhale can, in fact release all of that inner dialogue and allow me to see what is actually in front of me right now: an 8-year old girl who’s upset and tired and frustrated because her bikeโ€™s tires are flat.

But this did not happen overnight. My journey to using the breath as an integral part of my daily parenting began when I first met Michaela Turner in June 2008. Michaela is a certified YogaKidsยฎ Instructor and a long-time educator. My kids were having a blast in the demo YogaKids class she was leading at the health fair that day. I was intrigued by a conversation I was having with another mom about Yoga Parenting, a class that Michaela also teaches for parents at the Brentwood Center of Health, a holistic health center in St. Louis that is owned by my dear friend, Suzanne Tucker.

I loved the idea of using the principles of yoga, like centering, ritual, power, letting go โ€” and applying them to parenting. Although I was skeptical at first, I helped Suzanne coordinate a few Yoga Parenting workshops. I got to witness how effective the curriculum was for a number of families with kids of all ages; from toddlers to elementary-aged kids, even college kids. Of course, I began to sprinkle in a few of the ideas into my daily routine and I was impressed that they actually worked!

For example, I started using signs. Just like the reminder I have up for myself now, I put up signs for my kids. I have a sign that says, “Brush your teeth” on the door to the bedroom, in case they’ve forgotten as they head to bed. I have a picture of them with backpacks and lunch boxes taped to the door at their eye level, to remind them of what they need as they leave the house. Simple, daily tasks that used to be the root of conflict between us have been effectively shifted to ways they can demonstrate their capability. Little shifts like this have removed me from the power struggle, increased their self-esteem, and delivered exactly what Yoga Parenting promises: more joy, less stressful parenting.

As chance or fate would have it, I got to work with Michaela extensively because Suzanne and I decided that the message of Yoga Parenting was compelling, so much so that it could be translated into a powerful online parenting course. Although the live classes at Brentwood Center of Health were popular, it’s reach was limited by parents’ schedules and location. The online format would give anyone access to Yoga Parenting, at their convenience. So we got to work.

After 18 months; many hours of taping and editing and testing, the 8-week online Yoga Parenting Course is available. Each lesson, which includes an audio and written version is delivered to every seven days. And then, participants get to join in an ongoing Yoga Parenting Discussion Board. The “happy accident” is that in the process of developing the parenting course, I was soaking up the principles that Michaela developed over a career in classrooms and bringing it into my own home.

The bell, a sign that everyone must stop and take three deep breaths, is now a regular event in our day. What’s even better is that I can now fondly recall when one or the other of my children will call upon Yoga Parenting tools to deal with stressful situations. Like the time that my daughter stomped away from me saying, “Mommy, I just need to sit in the car and calm myself.” Or, when my six-year old son and I were arguing about something and my daughter used her BIG VOICE to say, “DONG!!!” just like the bell! Of course, then we all take three deep breaths and then busted out laughing. Just like that, Yoga Parenting brings us back to the present.

Magic happens in that now moment. Now โ€” that’s where life is.


Ria Sharon is a single mom and she claims, also a “student” to two elementary-aged children. She is the co-creator of My Mommy Manual and Yoga Parenting.

She has focused her professional career in communications, first in traditional media for large consumer brands like the Kellogg Company. More recently, she has devoted her expertise to the building of online communities. In this capacity, she has worked with WEGO Health and Wellsphere. Now as Practical Mommy on MyMommyManual.com, she sources advice from experts in the field of parenting as well as children’s and women’s health.

The Story of When I Lost My Son

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Conscious Parenting

Since becoming self-employed in April of this year, one thing I’ve really come to enjoy is being able to spend more time with my almost 3 year old son`. He truly is a spiritual inspiration to me – whether it’s his innate nature to be totally present in the moment, or when he’s climbing play structures in ways that scare even me just a little bit (and I’m adventurous!), or when he’s running away from home.

Now about that last part…

If you’re a parent, you know there are two unalienable truths about toddlers. First, never never ever let them out of your sight – not even for 10 seconds. Secondly, if it’s quiet then you know that something has been destroyed, defaced, or has disappeared. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, a few months back, my son was playing just outside the door on the front porch for a little while his mother was doing something. She turned away for… oh about 10 seconds… and shortly thereafter noticed the house had become…

Quiet.

Nothing had been destroyed nor defaced, but our son had disappeared! Knowing his adventurous and curious nature, we immediately started looking around the neighborhood. His mom went to the park (one of our son’s favorite places), and I drove around a bit with the windows rolled down listening for a lost crying little boy just wishing to be found.

After about 10 minutes, we regrouped back at home to think about "Plan B." I figured if I didn’t hear him crying, that meant he was probably enjoying himself – since we already knew he wasn’t at the park, I figured I’d go look in a few places in the neighborhood that are generally forbidden to him (because of his devious nature – not out of any danger to him). I checked them out, and he wasn’t anywhere to be found.

I paused for a moment and silently prayed. I asked for higher guidance to bring me to him. Within less than a minute of that prayer, I look up to see an older woman walking alongside a suspicious looking small character riding a small toy tricycle.

It turns out, that he had tried to go to the park but the woman encouraged him to stay in the neighborhood. For a little while, he had even played in the forbidden land where I had previously looked for him. However, in the moment I found him he was just enjoying a leisurely ride on his bike with his newfound friend.

Some parents might have scolded their child. Often when somebody else does something that scares us, or makes us feel out of control, we scold them. Our hope is that by scolding the person, that he or she will then conform to our desired behavior – and in the case of a child running away, our hope is that the child will learn not to run away. However, as we move further in our spiritual development is important to become conscious of the deeper lessons to be learned and how we affect others.

Jesus once said that we must become like children to enter the kingdom of Heaven. During his time away, he clearly was living in Heaven – he was in complete trust and unity with his environment, he was engaging the world with curiousity and passion, and he exemplified courage, kindness, and joy.


If that’s not Heaven on Earth then I don’t know what else could be.

It became clear that our son was teaching us very profound spiritual lessons, simply by living as an example of what I aspire to embody. That’s why scolding him would have been hypocritical – scolding would have sent him a very clear message that he can’t trust the world, and that qualities such as curiosity, passion, courage, kindness, and joy, are not welcome… we would have been punishing him for being exactly the kind of person this world needs more of.

So what did we do?

 Picture of my son

We made a new friend and enjoyed the bike ride home, where we played for a little while and ate breakfast while enjoying the sun coming through the windows in the early morning.

We also learned a few practical and spiritual lessons, and we laughed alongside this little enigma in our lives.

As a parent, I draw upon many different influences to raise my son in a happy, healthy, and conscious way. I am extremely selective about which ‘parenting philosophies’ I adopt and use in his life, whether it be attachment parenting, unschooling, co-sleeping, unconditional parenting, just to name a few…

And I’m always conscious about how my own beliefs (conscious and unconscious) are affecting him. Though it’s very rare I find a parenting resource I truly want to share with others, when I do you can bet that it’s something worth taking a look at. And one such resource is Rhonda Ryder’s “Kids Awakening” website.

There she is giving away her ebook "The 7 Secrets of Sharing the Law of Attraction With Kids and Teens". I’ve read it already, and though my son is too young for me to ‘teach’ him verbally about some of the spiritual principles in our lives, that guide was helpful for me to look more closely at myself and how I can continue to teach him through example. It reminds me that even when he "runs away" there are greater forces at work for both my son and myself to learn from.

(though a lot of times it seems like he is teaching me much more than I’m teaching him!)

The neat thing is, Rhonda’s work goes deeper than that. She’s giving "The 7 Secrets" away to introduce people to her more comprehensive "Inspired Parenting Course" which is based off of interviews she did with 5 teachers of the secret:

Dr. Joe Vitale, Marie Diamond, Bob Doyle, Dr. John DeMartini, and Mike Dooley (who by the way will be visiting Portland on Nov. 5th at Powell’s Books – and I definitely plan to be there!)

One thing I really like about Rhonda’s Inspired Parenting Course is that it, like Inscribe Your Life, points out that for spirituality to work effectively in our lives, we must be willing to work with both our conscious and unconscious beliefs.

It’s not enough to take action, if those actions are being undermined by limiting beliefs that are lurking in our subconscious. This is even more important as parents, since our actions directly and indirectly affect our children for their entire lives.

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