This feature article by Denise Yeargin comes from a lifetime of unique experience. Find out from a parent who has a Masters degree in counseling, works currently as an elementary school counselor and served children and families for years as a Unity minister. Read her thoughts about:
RAISING CONSCIOUS CHILDREN
There are many books and articles in our world today in regards to raising children. So when I was asked if I would be interested in writing an article that would be on Bunny Hull’s website, I was truly motivated. My experiences with children range from teaching music and creating dramatic productions with private school students and legally blind students at a state school, to being a professional school counselor with students from Preschool through the 8th grade. I also was a music minister in a small Unity church in the late 1990’s, and used many of Bunny’s songs with children as we created portions of Sunday Services that were always as exciting for the students as they were for the adults who were listening. Of course let’s not leave out the fact that I am the mother to two amazing young men who are in their teens and I was the minister of a Unity Church in Old Hickory, Tennesse for about 10 years.
I truly believe that children come into our universe much more “conscious” than the adults that already inhabit the planet. Children have not yet been programmed by the world. They are much more in tune to their feelings as a guidance system; however they are not able to take full responsibility for their own wellbeing, therefore, it does not take long for their self esteem to be wounded, their consciousness scarred. So in answer to the question – how do we raise conscious children, I believe the answer is simple – we remain conscious ourselves. Sound easy? I don’t know about you – but that is easier said than done.
I am in the process of writing a book that will accompany a cd of songs that my life partner, Judy Blackwelder has written to go along with the process. The book will be entitled Destined 4 Joy. I have spent most of my life knowing how to be consciously joyful and unfortunately have allowed people, places, things or situations to steal that joy from me. Every time that has occurred, I have gotten angry with myself because I “should” know better. We all know what shoulding on ourselves gets us. At 54 years young , I have finally learned to cut myself a bit of slack and realized that my moments of anger at others are becoming much shorter and my stints of consciousness are growing longer and stronger every day. So I share with you the 4 things I believe help me attempt to stay conscious. These are the same 4 things I have attempted to teach my sons and the students that I have worked with over the years.
- Slow Down
- Get Real Be Real Stay Real
- Put Your Whole Self In
- Show Up Pay Attention Tell the Truth Don’t Get Attached to the Outcome
- Slow Down
We live in such a fast paced world. We run from place to place and we even encourage our children to live the same fast pace. Do more, try it all, be all that you can be. Of course what kind of a parent would not want their children to be all that they can be? The problems begin to mount up when the being all you can be stands in the way of having a childhood or living, loving and learning together in a family system.
When I was in elementary school there was a great song that I remember singing in a talent show called “Feelin’ Groovy.” The beginning words were, slow down, you move too fast – you’ve got to make the moments last just kickin’ down the cobblestones, lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy.” Sound familiar? Some of you reading this may even remember the song. I actually remember days like that – days when I just was able to run barefoot through the grass, climb trees, play kick ball in the street, sell lemonade on the corner, and help my momma dry the dishes after supper. How many children in our society today get to experience any of these things?
I have many friends whose children go from school to soccer practice and ballet and private piano lessons and scouts etc. etc. etc. Now don’t get me wrong, my children did take Tai Kwon Do and they are both in the Marching Band. Those things have brought the entire family lots of joy watching and being involved in. I think finding those things that are really important that can fit into your family’s routine and not completely take away all the collective family time are great. Children still need to find time to spend at home eating supper with their parents, playing a game of Uno – something. A slower, more gentle pace would give everyone time to create more of a conscious family life.
Get Real Be Real Stay Real
I work in a public school system, and although I enjoy what I do, I realize that within the system we are still attempting to create little clones of the “perfect child”. I am in hopes everyday that as a school counselor, I have the ability to assist every child in finding those things that are “unique” to them. As a Unity Minister, I teach young and old alike that there is a spark of divinity within every one of us. That spark is a part of our oneness and also that thing that makes us distinctively us.
I am constantly reminded of one of my favorite children’s stories, the Velveteen Rabbit. Within that story is a passage that has stuck with me for years. The Skin Horse tells the rabbit that real has nothing to do with how you are made, but real happens when someone really loves you and then you become real. What I know about many of our children and us is that we have been hurt and so we don’t allow someone to really get close enough to us to love us — truly love us. If I am going to get real, I first have to love myself enough to be myself and then secondly I have to remember to be that real self in each and every situation. The staying real happens over time with practice. — Which leads me right into the next step.
Put Your Whole Self In
When I finally know who I am and show up real to people, places and things, I then can put that whole real self into any situation. It is very tiring walking around attempting to figure out who can accept me as I am and who cannot. When we are doing that we are not putting our whole beautiful God self into any situation. I see children every day that are holding back. They aren’t raising their hands for fear of having the wrong answer; they aren’t stepping into sports, or music, or other activities for fear of not being good enough. Sound familiar? When we as their parents and teachers and guardians model those behaviors to them – when we say things like I really wanted to be an artist but I chose to go into accounting because I could make more money – what kind of message are we giving our children. We are teaching them to do what the world wants them to do.
When I make choices to do what someone else wants me to do, I never really put my whole self in. It is when I begin to listen to my heart and make sure my mind and my heart and my gut are in alignment with my decisions that I am able to put my whole self in. Remember playing the Hokey Pokey? Remember how much fun it was to put your whole self in and then to shake your whole self all about? Isn’t that truly what life is all about? Ask yourself in this moment, how different would my life be right now, If I had stepped into what made my heart sing when I was 20 years old? Then and only then can I be in integrity with who I have come here to be.
Show Up – Pay Attention – Tell The Truth – Don’t Get Attached to the Outcome
This is a powerful little process that I learned from several different sources. Just google it and see all the references. Now after you do that – begin to try it. Show up. Sound simple enough? How many times do we make excuses in our lives and not show up or even do what we said we would do? Do we think that our children don’t know that? I have raised two Unity children from babies and they call me on my stuff continuously. “Momma, you said….” If we want to live a conscious life, we’ve got to begin by showing up first. Then there is pay attention.
How many of us say those words to our children many times each day. I know as a teacher and counselor I have said those same words to many students, and then I find myself walking through my day, not really paying attention to what a student is saying to me because I think what I am doing is much more important than anything they might be saying to me in that moment. I know that many of us have been on the receiving end of that one and know how it feels to be ignored. But the thing I want us all to hear is that this one little step is much deeper than that. Many times what a small child has to say to us is much more profound and just the thing we need in that moment than any book, any tv program etc. Try it for just one week and see how your life shifts. Pay attention to the people, situations and things around you and see what you learn not only about them, but about yourself.
Tell the Truth – well isn’t that a fine howdy do. I know that we all would agree that we need to tell the truth. How often do we find ourselves stretching the truth in order not to hurt someone; or telling what we call a little white lie? And again this step is much deeper than that. Telling the truth means that each step I take is in alignment with who I am as a person – who I have come here to be. When I make those decisions throughout my day that are out of integrity with who I am, I am only putting myself on a path that I don’t really want to travel on. And then somewhere during the next few days or months, I always begin to blame someone else for the things that begin to happen in my life, when the actually I created them by not being my true self – not really telling the truth. What is your truth? Are you standing in it daily at home, at work, at play? What about with each decision you make?
When I am willing to do the first three things, show up, pay attention, and tell the truth, then most of the time I am truly not attached to the outcome. That one can be hard when we are not truly living our lives for ourselves, but living them for someone else or through someone else. I will never have the life I truly want as long as I am not showing up as the person I came here to be So – you say – I thought this article was about raising Conscious Children. This sounds like work for the adults. And the answer is yes! Yes – if we have children that are not living consciously where do we think they learned to live that way? We must look in the mirror and have a long talk with ourselves. What have I modeled to them – when I am not being conscious throughout my day – when am I not present for them when they need me?
Raising conscious children is the only thing that will save our planet. We as adults have created many messes that have had to be cleaned up by ourselves and by others. If we want our children and our children’s children to make better, more conscious decisions in the future – we must begin with us. We must be the change that we want them to see, hear, feel and experience. You are destined for a life of love, joy and peace. It is really a simple, easy process of being conscious. What will you choose? What will you choose for your child?
You can be inspired by Denise by going to www.inspired-experiences.com
Denise Yeargin is a native of Nashville, Tennessee and at a very early age began singing, dancing, playing the piano, and acting. Her undergraduate degree is in Vocal and Piano Performance with a minor in Drama. She was the Music/Drama Specialist at Ezell Harding Christian School in Antioch Tennessee for 5 year – before deciding to take a deeper look at herself.
Denise entered graduate school and completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. At that time she became the Guidance Counselor at Tennessee School for the Blind. She did Family and Children’s counseling for Woodmont Hills Counseling Center and was an adjunct professor for Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN. During that same time she found Unity, and was a part of the praise and worship team for First Church Unity in Nashville. After marrying and having two children she found a smaller Unity church closer to where she was living and began attending. On the second week there, she was asked to consider the Music Minister Position, which she held from 1997 – 2002.
In 2002, the minister there became ill and moved to Florida. Denise had been working towards becoming a licensed Unity teacher and was getting ready to enter the Leadership Training portion. At that time the Association of Unity Churches spoke to Denise and she was asked to be the “Spiritual Leader” of Unity Church for Positive Living. Denise continued on her path as a teacher and counselor and entered the Field Licensing Program to become and Ordained Unity Minister.
Denise was ordained in March of 2009. She continued with UCPL for about another year. In August 2010, Denise resigned as the minister of UCPL and stepped back into the realm of professional school counselor. She is a Pennington Elementary School which is part of the McGavock Cluster in Nashville. She is the proud mother of two teenage sons who march in the McGavock Marching Band. Her oldest son will graduate the school year and is looking to enter MTSU on a Band Scholarship.