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

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

  1. I totally agree with this statement
    “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.”
    This is another of my pet hates that adults can be so dismissive of children. I felt this as a child myself and I see it all the time as an adult because is it possible we don’t want to admit that actually the child is very aware and can sum up a situation faster and more accurately than we can because we do not use all the senses we are born with and they do?

  2. An elder, usually gentle, gracious, kind, became unco-operative angry and resistant. The only difference was a carer unable to meet, be with her and lovingly care for her. This approach contrasted so sharply to what the client was used to, she went into reaction. Rarely are so-called behavioural problems related back to the care givers or teachers and consequences long-term for those on the receiving end can be damaging to a person’s sense of self and well-being.

    1. What a great example of what happens when as carers or teachers we are insistent that those in our care follow our prescribed rules. In education I am acutely aware of how the kids have to keep up with the system rather than the system adapt itself to meet their needs. We then try to squash the resultant disruptive behaviour blaming the kids rather than looking at the bigger picture.

  3. This unbalanced relationship between adults and children is indicative of a world in which we have lost our connection to equality and the one essence we all come from. We are in truth all the same and it is wilful ignorance and arrogance that sets us up in greater or lesser, competition and comparison patterns.

  4. We all are children at heart, want to be met and acknowledged and feel the weight of being dismissed by another. It can happen in any situation. Like for example a trades man enters your home to survey work with only the survey in mind, not the person they meet and ignore or dismiss their needs. It is horrible to be shut out in this way. Then there are tradesmen who come into your home, get to know you, ask questions, listen, give information, are not in a hurry, and provide a service with attention and love. When you meet a tradesman like this you know instantly this is someone you want to work with. School children don’t have this choice, they mainly have to put up with what-ever they’re given.

    1. Yes it is tough because they have to deal with whatever they have been handed out. They can’t walk away and rarely can they asked to have a different teacher. If the teacher is hard and the child reacts it is the child who gets the consequences, not the teacher, so quite often a child just has to accept the abuse while suffering the hurt of the injustice.

  5. I recently read an insightful and honest book called “Someone I Used to Know” written by Wendy Mitchell, a woman living with Alzheimer’s disease. She describes her adjustment to the disease but found that some people couldn’t adjust to her. Regardless of her illness, she wanted people to relate to her as ‘still being Wendy,’ including medical practitioners. Often she felt dismissed, misunderstood, avoided or ignored. We are never an illness, and important to continue to relate to the person not an ill-health condition.

    1. I have recently started teaching groups of young teens extra literacy classes. Their level of engagement across the school is poor which reflects in their poor behaviour in their classes. I definitely get the sense that staff don’t really know how to support them as they are having to force them through a curriculum that these kids find hard to access. The process is quite a difficult one for everyone. That said if we can meet them with where they are at, accept them for where they are at, not see them as inadequate or strugglers, but simply for the people they are they might start to open up more. It must be devestating to be met through those filters, and the ones you describe, every day by everyone you come into contact with.

      1. Yes Michelle, teachers are faced with an almost impossible task. You show the importance of the relationship built with each child and accepting where they are at a big part of this. Maybe you could present sessions to teachers about this precious but often overlooked side teaching.

      2. The consciousness of schools would certainly not permit this on an INSET day but a lot is offered by simply reflecting this relationship within a school as it is noted.

      3. Yes Michelle, teachers are faced with an almost impossible task. You show the importance of the relationship built with each child and accepting where they are at a big part of this. Maybe you could present sessions to teachers about this precious but often overlooked side teaching.

    2. Yes I remember when I was, for a very short time, in a wheel chair…it was as if a lot of people related to the wheelchair first and all that might mean and then to me second, like I was an afterthought.

  6. Two days ago I had the pleasure of spending time with a mother and her two children aged seven and five. And although tired, the mother remained fully present with the children: she listened, guided and gave them space to be themselves. This was a family of equals communicating with and respectful of each other.

  7. “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” ‘Out of the mouths of babes’…..we would do well to listen to our young children. They have much true wisdom to share.

  8. It is astounding how little people truly feel and listen. Our own busyness, mental preoccupations and accelerated lives have de-sensitised us to the extent we miss clear signs of distress in another, simply because we have dis-connected from the love that we all truly are.

    1. I find this astounding too. Within my profession I see children being dismissed constantly simply because staff don’t make the time to listen. There was an incident in my son’s school the other day and I asked if he had asked for support. He told me there was no point as teachers don’t do anything. When we fail to connect to the deep feelings of injustice children encounter every day (and they do feel so utterly raw every day) we are telling them that what they know to be true is not worth it/invalid. When we give children just a few moments we confirm them and then we can get on with the business at hand. Without that confirmation as a foundation the results of that business have a very different outcome.

      1. “When we give children just a few moments we confirm them and then we can get on with the business at hand’ We often fail to understand that giving, listening and confirming others is an essential and equal part of the business of life.

      2. Within the consciousness that runs schools, getting through the curriculum and squeezing kids through on a conveyer belt of learning and outcomes, we are failing to meet them in the way that they need to be met. It really doesn’t take long for a child to clock if the teacher before them is more interested in them or invested in what they can achieve.

      3. It is no wonder many children give up on themselves and ‘go off the rails’. And sad that when they do, it is almost expected with no one concerned about this lost generation of teenagers, especially boys.

      4. I have never really understood why we haven’t made the true welfare of our children our collective responsibility. The equation is simple – empowered, self loving kids grow into empowered, self loving adults who then go on to run our businesses, institutions and homes.

  9. The more settled I am in myself the more I enjoy listening as part of true communication. All the trying to formulate the next great thing to say is dispelled because I can feel the importance of really hearing another and there is the bonus of developing the skill of listening and often hearing all that is not being said out loud.

    1. Being settled in ourselves is the foundation that supports us to truly listen to others. In this way we open ourselves to fully be with another, feel nuances, including the unspoken and receive pearls of wisdom offered to us.

  10. “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…” When my children were small, they would sometimes come out with things that were so wise, and I would wonder how on earth they knew what they were saying, but they made so much sense. Its so important to honour our children when they have something to say, as by dismissing them we can colour the rest of their lives with doubt about who they are and what they know.

    1. Yes – so often in the faced paced world we have created adults don’t often give children the space to express at their own pace. If we wait and are patient, hold children in that space allowing them time to get their words out, their considered responses can be utter gold.

      1. Michelle, very much the same when working with elders. Often they move and express at a pace different to our own and some only able to express non-verbally. Patience is the quality that best supports us to be with them fully, match their pace, never hurrying or wanting to move on to the next. When we create space we’re blessed by their wisdom grace.

      2. How often when we engage in conversation do we make it all about ourselves? If we were to offer the basic courtesy of really listening to another, of holding them in a space that is fully accepting of where they are at, I feel all our interactions would be different..

  11. Some of the greatest wisdom I have heard has come from children around me, to meet children as equals they do not feel imposed upon to perform to please others.

    1. When a child feels listened to the wisdom that comes out can be totally awesome. If we as adults practice the art of listening we are the ones who receive the blessing, not necessarily just the child who feels s/he has been met.

  12. Love is just so simple, letting people in, and even if we stuff up, then we can just have another go next time, like a child says in play, “starting from now!”

  13. “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.” I absolutely agree, I get to meet children sometimes with my job and I know how much they can bring – equally so – and I love to support them in bringing it.

  14. And this goes on very much so in the rest of our life, often we as adults don’t truly listen to each other, most of us are in it for ourselves, to reply what we feel or get our say or the attention. Truly listening and seeing each other as equals is important whatever age we are.

    1. Yes Doug, rarely said but true ‘we knew we were equal then even if adults didn’t respect it’ Another example of how the innate qualities we have as children are imposed upon and squashed by adults until we forget who we intrinsically are.

      1. Yes but to be fair the adults don’t know what they are doing, they had the same knocked out of them as children and it does seem as if the madness of this crazy world has to be followed. But having said that it is now time to change that for ever and it is starting and it will grow like a bush fire.

    2. We disconnect from the love we know in the hurt of not seeing it reflected around us and in not being met in it we shut down to it, saying ‘stuff it, I’ll just do what I can for me’. We may or may not have a conscious memory of doing so but in that disconnection something else has to fill it – we align the to a different consciousness that won’t allow us to see or be open to the real choice we made.

      1. This different consciousness should be studied until we really understand how it works, what it wants and what it couldn’t care less about. If we understood it better we might be less keen to be its puppet.

      2. While we are in it, it is hard or near impossible to admit that we are unless someone who has broken free of it comes along and lives something different for us to see. Once we can see we have been fooled by a different consciousness, then there is much more of a willingness to explore it.

      3. Its very true, no one can do it on their own, but we can all help each other see just by reflecting that there is something different to what we are mostly all choosing.

  15. When we don’t allow children a voice, we cap their expression and also their ability to express what they feel, it leads them into self doubt because no one is confirming what they feel or learning from what they know to be true.

  16. “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?” I can feel the child within me opening up with my arms wide and saying YES PLEASE.

  17. What is so interesting about this, is how the other option to imposing on a child to be what we think they should be, is to allow them to simply be themselves – an option that for some reason is not always so freely chosen.

  18. One teacher can make a difference to a child’s life. Year ten, grammar, school, a woman, came in on supply to teach English Literature and from the moment she walked into the room we knew she was different. It was in the way she carried herself, spoke and related to us. On reflection, I now know what the difference was: she was deeply connected to herself and met us as human beings not children. She was a beacon of light and we always looked forward to her classes. The quality of her being and how she made me feel has stayed with me ever since. When this teacher was in the room, there was never any disruptive behaviour from pupils.

  19. Cause and effect is a huge factor when relating to children, adults and elders. Unless we look at ourselves first we may misinterpret the behaviour of another: the so-called ‘problem’ behavour often equally ours. In other words, when we become still and settled within, it is that much easier to truly meet and relate to others, regardless of age.

  20. As a child growing up there was a adult friend of the family who I used to call by her first name who from first meeting her was always interested in my opinion, that is was of importance and hence I felt important. In hindsight I realise that she was treating me as an equal, I was being met like no other adult did and it made a lasting and huge impression upon me.

      1. No matter how many children I meet, I simply love meeting another one! There is something so innately gorgeous about each one that I can’t help but be engaged and want to connect.

  21. “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” – this is amazing. So many of us would be able to tell when something is not true, but because we have been disconnected from what is truth for so long we don’t quite know how else to be and often end up repeating the same pattern only in a different flavor or just go into reaction.

  22. ‘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.’
    I so recognize this trying to be good enough so that I would be loved or at least get attention and recognition. This longing from a child that wants to know what the recipe is to be loved and liked can pop back up if I lose connection with myself and start looking outside again, just like I did when I was a child up until I met Serge Benhayon and learned that I can love and confirm myself.

  23. Children have the same access to divine wisdom and are often more connected to it than adults. They do need role models and that is where parents and teachers come in. So, it is up to us to reflect sacredness and love and support them to grow into their own amazingness.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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’

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

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

    1. Very true Kehinde, the same with people with disabilities. We see the physical body, whether it be age, size etc. and make a judgment that they are lesser, rather than seeing and connecting with their essence. When we connect with a person’s essence we feel and express with equality.

      1. “When we connect with a person’s essence we feel and express with equality.” Beautiful expressed Jonathon. Thank you.

  30. 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.

  31. ‘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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

    1. Yes children are proof we all have access to the same Universal wisdom. Many lose this quality as we sell out to external life where protection, conditions and expectations drown out the natural wisdom and clarity of children. We’re learning that we can return to the pure and sweet qualities we had as children, sensing, feeling and expressing freely.

  34. 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.

  35. 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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