Photo © Marlene Green/Shutterstock
There is a fundamental misunderstanding about raising and educating children
that is so profound and all-pervasive that it must be changed if children
are to become the glorious creatures that nature intended.
To put it very simply, children do not need to be “raised” or “educated.”
Just as a child does not have to be “taught” to speak or to walk, he does
not need to be “taught” almost all the things we as parents and teachers
usually spend our time trying to teach. What's more, not only are our
attempts to teach children what we want them to learn unnecessary, they are
usually paradoxical in their effects and lead eventually to the opposite of
what was intended.
The human organism has been evolving on this planet for about three
billion years and our genetic structure provides each of us with a unique
path to actualize our awesome inborn potential. The reason that almost no
one actually actualizes their full potential is because we, as children, are
not allowed to follow our inborn path. We are forced to follow parents who
believe that they know how we should feel, think and act.
Many parents do not know the truth about either themselves or their
children. They are not told that all of us are born wise, creative and
intelligent; with an inherited “knowledge” about how to develop, in much the
same way that we all are programmed to physically develop in our own unique
way and time.
We all have goals for our children. We want them to be happy, loving,
well educated, caring, giving, prosperous, etc., and because these goals are
so important to us, we set out to bring them into being. The problem with
this goal directedness is the law of paradox, which states that any attempt
to directly actualize a goal with a child will lead ultimately to a result
directly opposite from the one intended. The law of paradox applies to most
parental interventions because the fundamental nature of children is rooted
in the totality of existence, and almost all parents operate from their
fear-based rational intellects. A limited rational mind cannot effectively
raise a multi-dimensional, universal based consciousness.
do not need to be “raised” or “educated.” They should be
For example, let's look at the goal that children become sharing and
giving adults. This is an admirable goal and one that would be manifested by
all children as they reach adulthood if they were allowed to follow their
natural, inborn blueprint. Most parents, however, do not trust in the basic
goodness and innocence of their children. They believe that their children
have to be taught to share. So when little Sally does not want to share her
new doll with her sister, she is often forced to do so by her well meaning
parents, thinking that she will learn to be a sharing or giving person by
this outside influence.
So what happens to little Sally? What does she really learn from being
forced to share? She learns that she is not acceptable to her parents the
way she is. She learns that wanting to possess something only for herself is
wrong. She learns her parents don't understand or support her in having what
she wants. She learns her parents are insensitive or uncaring about her
feelings about being forced to do something she doesn't want to do. She
learns that it is more important to consider someone else's feelings than
What she certainly does not learn is the feeling of true giving or
wanting to share, because that can only come naturally, as the child matures
and is respected first in her not wanting to share. So in this case the law
of paradox states that only the child who is fully allowed to possess and be
as “selfish” as she wishes will eventually contact the inner richness of
self from where true sharing comes, and that the child who is forced to
share before she is ready will only learn the behavior (act) of sharing,
but will never contact the inner abundance that makes true sharing possible.
attempt by parents to “teach” personal qualities such as honesty,
responsibility, being loving, gentleness, perseverance, independence or
intelligence will backfire.
To repeat, any attempt by parents to “teach” personal qualities such as
honesty, responsibility, being loving, gentleness, perseverance,
independence or intelligence will backfire. The only things that can ever be
taught directly to a child are behaviors; but the real underlying human
qualities that support these admirable personal attributes can never be
taught since they are already pre-programmed and will only emerge as a
natural result of a loving environment.
Let's take a look at the desire parents have that their children become
independent adults. When five-year-old Jimmy is afraid to go in the other
room to meet the guests who have just arrived, and wants to hold onto his
mommy's dress and hide instead, his mommy feels embarrassed and thinks that
he should learn to be a “big boy.” She fears that if she “indulges” his fear
he will remain a wimp for the rest of his life. She must teach him to be
So she “encourages” him to go and talk to the guests, with some
combination of anger, threats, blame or perhaps some promise of praise or
reward. In most cases she will succeed, and Jimmy will behave like a model
independent child. This “act” may reinforce mother's false belief that she
has helped Jimmy take a step towards true independence. But as you might
already see, she has not done anything except use her superior emotional and
physical power to force Jimmy to act against himself and perform the desired
“big boy” behavior. He has not learned anything about true independence,
which comes slowly and naturally as a result of having one's dependency
needs met first, but has merely learned to pretend and to please and to make
someone else's reality more important than his own.
The same principle, which in other words is to trust the inborn wisdom of
our children and not to try to alter or control it, applies to our
understanding of our children's educational needs as well. Children are born
curious, intelligent and eager to learn. By age three, most children have,
without effort, mastered our incredibly complex language system, one of the
greatest learning challenges in life. The manner in which language is
learned is the way Nature intended all education to come about; namely that
it occur naturally in the course of daily living, that it be part of the
immediate needs of the child, that it be self motivated and unevaluated by
others, and that it be interesting and involving. Play is the essential
medium for childhood learning.
The so-called education that occurs in school has
absolutely nothing to do with the personal reality of children and
has therefore nothing to do with true learning.
The so-called education that occurs in school has absolutely nothing to
do with the personal reality of children and has therefore nothing to do
with true learning. When a child is forced, as he is in school, to put his
own reality aside to attend to his teacher's agenda, he is damaged. He is
forced to leave his rich inner world and pay attention to something that is
often boring and irrelevant, out of fear of the consequences of displeasing
his parents and teachers and being made fun of by the other students.
Since our educational system does not understand how real learning
occurs, the law of paradox runs rampant in our schools, teaching our
children everything we don't want them to learn. Much too often what
children really learn in school is: (a) that true learning is boring and
tedious and irrelevant; (b) that success in life depends on forcing oneself
to sit quietly and endure endless hours of boredom; (c) that nobody,
including one's own parents, can be counted on to either understand or offer
protection against this daily assault against the child's real needs, and
(d) most sadly, that this is what life is all about – being forced to be
away from the ones you love and having to endure the sterility and
meaninglessness of this alternate reality.
The good news is that there are now more and more parents who intuitively
know what their children need and know how damaging “normal” parenting and
schooling has been. These parents have often suffered deeply in their own
childhoods and have explored their pain enough to get clear of many of the
illusions of our child-toxic world. It is this increasing number of
enlightened parents who hold out the real hope for our troubled planet,
because even a few children raised in a manner that allows for their full
manifestation of inner magnificence, will be able by the force of their
love, wisdom and personal power, to truly heal the world.
Jerry Levinson is a Registered Psychologist and parent who lives near South Slocan, British Columbia.