By Victoria Lynes/Atmabir Kaur
“Children are full-fledged people with high potency antennae which record every vibration within their vicinity completely and very deeply.”
Raising conscious children in our world today is possibly one of our most important tasks. If we are to shift the consciousness of the planet, if we are to move from a disconnected society back to connection, where we are all actually hard wired, then we need to give our children tools to thrive and survive.
It is difficult to fathom what being a child in our culture is like today. Our childhoods, just a few decades ago, were so vastly different. The advent of technology has changed everything. More “connected” than ever, yet less conscious than perhaps we have ever been.
Yogi Bhajan said,
“Your one touch to a child can give that child the strength to excel. Your one denial can totally make that child nothing, forever. That is how powerful you are.”
What would he say now, over thirty years later, seeing how a phone—how technology—is now an extension of a child’s body? The “denials” on social media have been shown to cause anxiety, stress, depression and even suicide among our youth. Often more powerful now than the word of the parent, our children’s (and often our own) reliance on approval from our social network is an experiment for which we have not yet seen the full results. And we may not for some time.
But the evidence is there right in front of our eyes. Everything has changed in a few short years. Our children have the world of information at their fingertips, 24/7. We knew we were headed here—Yogi Bhajan talked about this long before it became a reality. We know we are now in the fast moving, opening tunnel to the Aquarian Age. Everyone, including our children, has access to all information.
I believe that many children born now have the nervous systems they will need to navigate this digital age. They are wired differently. Their souls are called forward to thrive in this new age. But they DO need guidance. They need a strong moral compass and they need fully conscious families and communities that support them.
“Just speak the truth for the sake of your children, so that they can understand that there is a truth. That is Sat Nam. Give them the true identity of themselves, and you will have angels on this Earth.”
-Yogi Bhajan 8/5/78
Truth. At all times. Even when it is hard. Especially then. The false sense of identity that often makes up our children’s psyche because of the internet and social media cannot be denied. We as adults need to have open and real conversations about this with them. Often. We must not assume that they are okay. We must take them away from their addictive technology when we see it is consuming them and we must give them the natural world, give them real people and some real connection.
Some parents have openly acknowledged that it has become easier to parent children these days. We have been let “off the hook” in finding constant amusement, stimulation, activities, games and interactions for them. After all, they seem so content (and quiet) in their rooms, on their screens. Then we, as parents, feel we too can immerse ourselves in the same.
Ahh … a lovely quiet house, night after night. No one arguing and raising their voices (unless the wifi goes down). But then communication becomes barely a grunt here and there when an interaction is attempted. The battle to remove their devices has become too hard now. It is fully entrenched behavior. An addiction disguised as peace and quiet. All of this is unconscious behavior and leads to unconscious children and young adults making unconscious choices.
We need to do better. We need to return to being conscious parents and caregivers ourselves, but we also need to get down to the level of the child.
“Parents must be parents all the time, but they must become children one time in twenty-four hours. That is an essential requirement of parenthood. Don’t always relate to a child on a parental level. For one moment in each day, you must deal with the child at his or her level. Come down to the level of the child to deal with him.”
-Yogi Bhajan 7/27/82
Connection. We all crave it and our kids need it desperately.
My days are spent in the public school system teaching kids how to breathe, how to stop and navigate their inner landscape. Mindfulness training is essential for growing minds, and now more than ever. It’s always very curious to look around the room at these beautiful little souls and see them trying to practice. “Breathing in … breathing out.”
Many of them drop right in. Perhaps they have practiced at home. But I feel more often than not, some part of them, whether they are 4 or 14, know that this is what they crave, that this connecting inwards is important. They get to just “stop,” if only for a few minutes. It’s beautiful and it’s an honor to watch.
Of course, many find the whole thing futile and “totally boring.” They squirm in their chairs, fidget uncontrollably and roll their eyes the whole time. These are my targets! These are the ones who are in the most need of yoga and mindfulness. And the ones who often resist strongly in the beginning often end up becoming my most practiced and dedicated students.
We are merely planting the seeds at this stage, trusting that as they grow, they may remember the deep breathing and mindfulness they were taught in school. And I hope that some of them take it home to teach their parents.
Children will often approach me in the hallways and say “Miss Victoria, I practiced the taco tongue (Sitali) breath when Steven pushed me off the slide the other day, and it really worked to help make me calmer and not punch him in the face!”
They know they have the tools to become more conscious. We just need to constantly remind our children that they have everything they need inside them to be who they are, to be their unique selves, their “Sat Nam.”—and that they do not need approval by way of “likes” and that they have the power to choose their reaction to any situation. We need to constantly remind them that they need to understand how important it is to “disconnect” from technology in order to connect within.
Let’s continue to purposely raise conscious children, one deep breath at a time.
The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabart, PhD
The Whole Brain Child by Dan Seigal
Victoria Lynes/Atmabir Kaur is a Certified KRI Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Radiant Child Yoga Teacher, and IKYTA/YA Member. She is approaching a decade of teaching Kundalini Yoga classes in Ottawa, Canada and also hosts annual Kundalini Yoga retreats for women. Victoria is the founder and director of Little Soul - Yoga and Mindfulness for Children. Her programs are part of the curriculum for numerous public and private schools. She also designs and delivers Children’s Yoga and Mindfulness training for adults. Learn more at: www.littlesoulyoga.com