“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will give you the man.” ~ Jesuit motto, alleged to be attributed to Francis Xavier
It is said that in the first 7 years of life, children are like sponges, absorbing everything that they see and everything that they hear, whether it is being communicated directly to them or not. Apparently, in those 7 years of their life, they learn how to perceive themselves, their lives and the world they live in.
It is in those first 7 years that the foundation for their entire life is being set. And if the environment they are raised in is a warm, healthy, loving and supportive one, the foundation on which their life will be built will be a very strong and healthy one. And great parents know this to be true.
15 Things Great Parents Do Differently
1. They strive to be like their children, and not to make their children be like them.
Great parents are aware of the fact that our prior condition is love. It is light. It is happiness. They know that all children come into this world pure, whole and perfect, and because of that, they strive to re-become as pure as, as connected and as aware as their children. They strive to be like their children, but they don’t try to make their children be like them.
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
2. They practice noninterference.
Great parents understand that parenting isn’t about having children lean on you but rather about making learning unnecessary and through their words, actions and behaviors they teach their children how to become self-reliant and to always follow their own compass.
“Parenting is not about having children lean on you but making leaning unnecessary. They have a compass, let them follow their own compass; freeing you up to be your own person on your own time and allowing them to become who they are to become.” ~ Wayne Dyer
3. They teach their children to honor the relationship they have with their inner Divinity.
Because they know that the relationship one has with their inner Divinity, with their heart and Soul, and with the Invisible Force that created the whole universe, is the most important relationship in one’s life, (even more important than the relationship they have with their parents) they are constantly encouraging their children to trust their inner voice and intuition. To honor the voice of their heart and Soul, and to always walk on the path that life needs them to walk upon.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” ~ Matthew 10:37
4. They protect, preserve and develop their children’s genius.
“All children are born geniuses; 9,999 out of every 10,000 are swiftly, inadvertently degeniusized by grownups.” ~ Buckminster Fuller
Years ago, an incredible study was made at Harvard University called Project Zero in which, Howard Gardner together with his colleagues, found that every child is born a genius across multiple bits of intelligence and that by the age of 20, the percentage of geniuses within a population whittles down to 10%… and over the age of twenty, only 2% retained their genius ability. And great parents are aware of this. As a result, they do their best to protect, preserve and constantly develop their unique gifts, genius, and talents, without interfering with their children’s ability to create and express themselves freely and openly.
5. They encourage their children to walk on their right life path.
Great parents don’t try to impose unrealistic or unsuitable expectations on their children. Encouraging them to always do the things they feel in their hearts are right for them even if they make little or no sense for others.
They are constantly reminding their children that each and every one of us is meant to walk on a unique path in life and that only by walking on this path we will always remember who we really are, where we come from, where we’re going and why we are here on this planet.
6. They don’t give up on themselves, their lives and their dreams “for their children”.
These parents know that even though they are responsible for the lives of their children, for their happiness, education, health and well-being, they also know that they are responsible for their own lives, for their own happiness, dreams, health, and well-being. And through everything they do, they strive to achieve personal – family balance, always honoring the relationship they have with their inner Divinity and always staying true to their life calling and life path.
Great parents know that we are all born whole and perfect and that within ourselves we have all the love, all the happiness, and all the approval we need and desire. And that is why they teach their children to never seek for love, happiness, and approval outside themselves, and to never make other people responsible for how they feel or don’t feel.
8. They teach their children to live with an open heart.
In spite of the many disappointments, heartbreaks, betrayals and hurtful situations they might experience in life, and in spite of the many pains and struggles they might face as they advance through life, great parents teach their children to never give up on love. Because love is life and life is love, and if they give up on love, they give up on life.
9. They don’t educate their children to be rich, but rather to be happy.
Great parents don’t educate their children to be rich, but rather to be happy. To seek to become men and women of value, not of success, so that when they grow up, they know the value of things, not the price.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ~ John Lennon
Though their words, attitudes, and behaviors, they inspire their children to treat all living beings with respect, love and compassion. Making them realize that just as they and their parents deserve to be here on this planet, and just as they deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion, love and respect, so does everyone else.
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” ~ George Washington Carver
Great parents encourage their children to honor their authenticity and their uniqueness. To stay true to themselves at all times and to never trim themselves to suit everybody, even if that means “offending” those around them.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
12. They make their children aware of the fact that all life is an experiment. And that the more experiments they make, the better.
Great parents lead by example, and because they know that there are no limits to what we can do except those we choose to impose upon ourselves, they constantly move past their fears and limitations. And through their actions and behaviors, they teach their children to do the same. Encouraging them to constantly experiment with themselves and with their lives, and to never be afraid of failure.
“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
13. They teach their children to listen to the teachings of their Soul.
Great parents know that all the wisdom and all the treasures that exist in this world can’t even compare with the knowledge, insights, wisdom and the many treasures that are hidden within each and every one of us. And that is why they are constantly reminding their children to look within. To ask more of themselves than they ask of those around them. To listen to the teaching of their Soul more than they listen to the teachings of those around them.
“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.” ~ Rumi
14. They encourage their children to never give up their playful spirit.
No matter how old their children are, great parents are constantly encouraging their children to keep their playful spirit alive all throughout their lives, assuring them that they will find more happiness growing down than growing up.
“Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
15. They raise their children to value people for what they have in their hearts, not in their pockets.
Great parents teach their children to value people for what they have in their hearts and souls, not for what they have in their pockets and in their bank accounts. To love them for who they are underneath it all and not for how shiny and glittery their life looks on the surface.
“Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
** What are your thoughts about the first 7 years of a child’s life as being the years during which the foundation for our life is being set? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below 🙂