To Be Truly Heard and To Be Truly Met For Who We Really Are

Observing how many adults act around children, I have noticed there is a common tendency to treat them as being lesser. This comes from a belief that a child is born empty and that as he/she accumulates experience, knowledge and skills, only then does the child become worthy of being considered equal. Sometimes this may not occur until they reach their mid-twenties or above! I remember as a teenager aching to be older so that I could be taken seriously and without being dismissed as inferior.

There is an adult propensity to dismiss a child and all that they have to offer, because in our arrogance, we believe that they don’t have very much to offer at all yet, and that we have to instill in them everything we want to see come out of them.

We are of the belief that a child is an empty vessel, starting from scratch, and that it is up to us to fill them up with knowledge and teach them the ‘right’ way to behave. Many parents also hold the belief that kids are too young to understand, too young to be aware, too young to know what the right and important choices are, or just simply, they need to be protected.

But what if our children are born already full, wise and knowing and we don’t give them the opportunity to recognise this, articulate this and live this?

As adults we tend to also hold the superiority card, believing that because we have lived longer and because we say so, we are therefore wiser, deserve more respect and expect children to simply do as they are told.

Quite often this can be communicated to a child with dismissiveness, frustration or anger. This whole approach to children is also reinforced by the education system, so that it is rare for a child to be consistently confirmed for who they truly are.

When a child is treated in this manner, how does this actually make the child feel? I know when I was a child I was quite crushed, to say the least.

There can be three ways a child can cope with this – either they can:

  1. Give up and withdraw
  2. Rebel or
  3. Conform

I remember feeling of very little worth and always feeling like I had to prove myself, yet at the same time not get in the way. I chose option C – I conformed! I became ‘good’ at following the rules… doing my homework, doing as I was told, even when I didn’t want to, and telling others what they wanted to hear at the expense of how I was feeling. I buried my true self and my true voice, feeling that I wouldn’t be understood or that I wouldn’t be listened to. When I did show my true feelings, I felt they were not really respected and whenever I did voice things that were deeply heartfelt, they were quite often derided as being too innocent and naïve.

The consequence of the above choices ultimately only undermined my own sense of self-worth because I was constantly compromising myself. Furthermore, in not understanding that it was in my own reactions and choices that I was eroding my sense of self worth, not necessarily how I was being treated, I went into feeling like a victim of life.

It was clear to me that no matter how ‘good’ I was, I was never going to be able to achieve the recognition and love that I was seeking from the adults around me.

It didn’t occur to me that I could love and confirm myself for myself. As a result I placed a lot of expectations on myself, and as I grew up into a young woman I derived a lot of recognition and satisfaction from being efficient at work and getting the job done well (a little arrogance was formed as a result) – a poor substitute for the love I was really craving.

But what if we were to honour our children for who they are and not what they do? How would this then make a child feel?

What if we stop for a moment to consider our children – and I mean, really consider them as an equal to adults? What if we stopped to consider the vastness of what they perfectly bring just by being who they are?

What if we stopped to consider that when they are born they are already whole; that they are already glorious and are already little bundles of huge wisdom and lived experience. What if we stopped to consider that by having them in our families they are an enormous singular and unique addition to the whole, with the potential of contributing their amazing piece of the jigsaw that makes up the one humanity?  

I know that when I hold my children in equality and value everything within them, they feel:

Loved

Held

Cherished

Respected

Confident to express

Allowed to make mistakes

Allowed to claim they are imperfect

Allowed to accept themselves as they are

Open to others

Open to love

Open to giving and open to receiving

Open to being themselves.

When they meet new people they don’t hold back from expressing confidently and truthfully. They don’t get caught up in the cycle of feeling inadequate and worthless because they are a child. They don’t get caught up with cliques and jealousy over friends; they are open to all and play equally with all. In their naturalness they inspire so many adults and other children around them as they constantly inspire me.

Within our families we have access to so much love, wisdom and common sense simply through our children, so when I hear the adult response claiming that children do not know, or are too young to be self-aware, I beg to differ. The truth is, children are very aware, and very self-aware, but because the trend isn’t to allow children to give voice to what they are ‘feeling’, but only ‘doing’, we are missing out on a very rich and expansive vocabulary and dialogue with our young ones.

Yes – we do see a lot of ill behaviours in children, however is it possible that it is our misinterpretation of their essence that actually precipitates this behaviour? Could it be that this ill behaviour is simply a reaction to the fact that we don’t honour them – truly hear them and truly meet them for who they are?

As both a parent and teacher, I have observed how children always joyfully rise to the occasion when they are treated as equals and are given responsibility; they open up and get super engaged and are enthusiastic all the time – an absolute joy to observe.

As adults we can become arrogant with the ingrained belief that with age we have superiority because we have lived longer, but when we dismiss our children as being less, and because they end up believing this, then these consequences play out, and like a catch 22, we believe what we see, and so we go round in the same circle again and all is repeated…

As a child I remember how it felt not to be given the opportunity to put voice to everything I knew to be true, which was deeply felt, but lay buried well on into my adulthood. It was through having met Serge Benhayon and in having attended Universal Medicine workshops that I have opened up to feeling how painful shutting down my true feelings and voice as a child was for me. I am now making sure I don’t repeat the cycle with my own children. They are met and loved for who they are, and their feelings and true voice are honoured daily.

By Michelle McWaters, Bath, UK

Further Reading:
Good Parenting Skills
Receiving a Healing Through Children
The Beauty of Meeting Children and Allowing Them To Be

614 thoughts on “To Be Truly Heard and To Be Truly Met For Who We Really Are

  1. Let us expose and dismantle the common misconception other people as separate from us. When we relate to another, we are relating to ourselves, there is no difference.

  2. I’ve experienced the same in my work where I’m valued and fully met my employer, friend, companion. We have a beautiful relationship, one that has deepened over the years we’ve been together.

  3. As a child, to please adults, I conformed, realised this got me nowhere, then rebelled riotously. We were parented ‘old school: expected to do as we were told and abide by the rules. There was some affection, but not too much. What we lacked was love, being treated and spoken to as whole human beings equal to adults.

    1. There has been such an arrogance on the part of adults with regards to raising children. If we look back in history, our culture in the Uk has been very much about a stiff upper lip and expecting obedience as of right. The idea of duty and a subscription to other ideals and beliefs has negated and reduced our most fundamental human right, which is to be loved and to express it in all situations.

      1. Yes Michelle there has. Our parents, parented in the same way by their parents and did what they thought was best for their children. This cycle of arrogance in family relationships can be broken and children experience something different from adults: to be met as equals, loved and respected for the tender precious beings they are. We’ve set ourselves free from the obligation to blindly follow harmful ideals and beliefs and understand the meaning of true family. In this way we inspire others.

      2. ‘We’ve set ourselves free from the obligation to blindly follow harmful ideals and beliefs and understand the meaning of true family.’ This is a gorgeous confirmation of how, through simply developing awareness, we can open ourselves up to more and can let go of the ideals we have used that keep us in separation to each other. The idea of a nuclear family is strong in many cultures, which makes life about you and your own only. When we can become open to the idea that we are all a part of a much bigger family, the family of humanity, those barriers start to break down and we become much more inclusive, respectful and loving to everyone around us. There is no difference in approach to anyone – everyone is seen for who they are and are valued for it.

      3. “When we can become open to the idea that we are all a part of a much bigger family, the family of humanity, those barriers start to break down and we become much more inclusive, respectful and loving to everyone around us”. Super important Michelle: no more ‘my family’ but ‘our family’

  4. The saying “children should be seen, not heard” was often quoted when I was a child and it diminished my sense of self.

  5. When a carer describes an elder client as ‘difficult’ it is often because they have found it difficult to connect with them.

    1. Ditto with children. There have many moments when so-called ‘difficult’ children have melted in the face of an offered connection. However, there have been many times when this offer is rejected and I have found it important not to invest in outcomes but to meet each situation as it needs.

      1. Agreed Michelle, we respond to each situation as we meet it. There is never ever only one way.

  6. I see strong a parallel between teacher- pupil and carer-elder relationships.. Elders are often not heard or truly met but dismissed as being less because of aging and frail bodies and waning mental capabilities. This is a form of abuse.

  7. I appreciated reading this blog and I now have more of an understanding what baby’s go through. We have an 8 month old in our family and I spent a couple of days with her and observed her interactions with the family. I picked up on the many cues of communications, it was amazing to not only see but feel.

    It made me appreciate that just because she was small didn’t mean she couldn’t express. Our responsibility is to ensure she is provided the physical aspects, she was capable of communicating and so honouring to meet her power of expression.

    1. I find it delightful being around young children – I love to connect with them and engage with them with where they are at. Their powers of observation are gorgeous and when we pay attention we get to see life from their perspective, which is always a joy.

  8. ‘To Be Truly Heard and To Be Truly Met For Who We Really Are’ – it says it all. If we only were to bring as much as possible of this quality and presence to every encounter we all would be healed soon from the deepest hurts we carry personally and as a society.

    1. I was with a student this week who is known to be a bit of a handful and a trouble maker. He is generally very given up and resistant to doing any work; he also causes a lot of low-level disruption and negative attention from teachers as a consequence. However, on this particular day, I was able to sit with him on a one on one the whole lesson. The difference this made in his demeanour was remarkable. He felt much lighter and more vibrant and he really enjoyed focusing and committing to his work, producing a really neat and well-ordered structure to the piece he was doing. All that had happened was that I had connected to him without any judgment thoroughly enjoying my time with him, which he could feel.

      1. Beautiful example Michelle of what can happen when we sit and connect to another and a blessing for the student to receive your love offered in the simplest of ways.

      2. Your example reminds me of my first full-time teaching job and one child in particular was sad, quiet, lacked self confidence, a child no one had paid attention to. But I did. I listened to him, praised, encouraged him to speak and gave him lots of one-to-one support. During my time as class teacher, he blossomed and started to smile and speak again. As a teacher, I knew from deep within to relate to all children equally and was aware of the potential to cause harm by treating some children less than others.

      3. I have always instinctively known that in teaching there is the perfect conduit for connecting to others. Teaching always has, and always will be, about relationships first and formost, but we can say this about any profession. When we make it all about relationships the rest naturally follows.

      4. ‘When we make it all about relationships the rest naturally follows” It is true, we can say this about every profession. For carers, building a relationship with the client is foundational to us working with them. If we do not, we create so-called problems where non exist.

  9. We all long to be seen and held for who we are. Whenever we experience that we naturally relax to being who we are because we don´t need to be anything else, so basically reversing the situation of our childhood where we learnt to become what we considered to be necessary to receive some recognition.

  10. I used to marvel at some of the things my children would say, and wonder how they knew the wisdom that they spoke of. When we understand and accept that we all have access to the same Universal wisdom, its just that children have a clarity and innocence with what they know that has not yet been tainted by years of living in life as we know it.

  11. As the cycle of human life shows us our children of today are our adults of tomorrow so it is our responsibility as adults of today to prepare them so they may embrace their potential and live as an inspiration and in honour of the next generation coming through.

    1. Yes – this is so obvious and yet as adults, our propensity is to dishonour the next generation coming through! What exactly are we getting out of this? Unless we ask ourselves this question is simply doesn’t make any sense.

  12. Young children have access to the same universal wisdom as adults but it is not clouded with ideals, beliefs and interpretations that are absorbed as we grow up, they just call for support to understand the world around them and to hold true to who they are within it.

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