On Sunday 28 October we were fortunate to have Mr Erik Robertson from The Netherlands facilitate a workshop on parenting at Darcy Road Public School in Wentworthville.
Approximately 60 participants from both regions East and West were in attendance.
The program commenced with the beautiful reminder that Sathya Sai Baba is our ultimate mother and father. He is the most compassionate and loving of all mothers and yet the most stern, fatherly disciplinarian when required.
The workshop explored the concept of ‘Love and Law’ in parenting. Underpinning Love in parenting were sentiments of unconditional love, compassion, empathy and understanding; Law was centred upon notions of rules and regulations. We discussed the ways in which parents can gravitate towards one or both of these concepts depending on contextual factors like the child’s age and individual circumstances.
Erik also shared a model for self-evaluation which feeds into our parenting style. In essence it can be conceptualised as two separate ‘buckets’ of positive and negative feedback which are each linked to both the Atma (our ultimate reality – i.e that we are God) and our subconscious. Through our continuous self-evaluation we are either consciously or subconsciously filling these proverbial buckets, and often, we tend to fill the negative bucket to the point that it overflows and manifests outwardly as us ‘snapping’ at those around us.
The workshop at this stage broke into small groups, each of which had fruitful discussions about how we all view our own ‘buckets’ and the dynamics in our parenting partnerships in light of Love and Law.
These buckets are fertile grounds through the child-rearing process, for they significantly influence our own behaviour as well as our children’s buckets. To this end, we learned how parents reinforce the behaviour exhibited by their children, and their behaviour is ultimately a product of what we pass on to them. With this in mind, we were reminded that children regard their parents as God – as their moral mirrors.
Ultimately, Erik reinforced the need to parent with unconditional love. We must love them unconditionally as they are (and notably, this is separate to loving them for their behaviour).
As we go about raising our children we must always be guided by our inner conscious or intuition, as this is ultimately Sathya Sai Baba Himself guiding us. By living the 5 human values and centering our parenting upon these, with the firm foundation of unconditional love, we can navigate the complex and dynamic journey of parenting.