Natural Life Magazine

Paradox – The Natural Law of Childrearing
Children do not need to be "taught" or "raised"

by Jerry R. Levinson

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 they do not have to be “taught” to speak or to walk, they do 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 and teachers 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.

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 her own.

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.

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 be a wimp for the rest of his life. She must teach him to be independent.

So she “encourages” him to go and talk to the guests, with some combination of anger, threats, blame, shame, 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. When children are forced, as they are in school, to put their own reality aside to attend to a teacher's agenda, they are damaged. They are forced to leave their rich inner worlds and pay attention to something that is often boring and irrelevant, out of fear of the consequences of displeasing their 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.


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