Your child’s nature unfolds like an oak from an acorn.
Once she has tumbled onto the ground from some mysterious height, it is the soil and the wind and the rains that give her ultimate expression its particular form.
Who she becomes when she’s well rooted and fully extended has painfully little to do with who you are as a parent.
And yet, we readily take it upon us to be our child’s spiritual doctor, to provide the way for her to become what we envision she ought to be.
This is too big a burden for someone as inconsequential as a father or a mother to the innate calling of the child. It’s also a position we don’t have the qualifications or skills for, whatever our ambition, unless that child is someone else’s. If she is, then we might serve her as an elder, a mentor, a trusted uncle or aunt.
Our own child’s spiritual path is laid down by her encounter with the world, what we used to know as the village. And if this village is now unknown to you, as it is to most of us here in the west, you might have placed the full weight of your child onto your weary lap. If you’re a single parent, you will know the strain of this burden all the more.
Parenting this way is an impossibility masquerading as a responsability.
If we take it as our task to be the spiritual doctor of our child, we close the door on the main generational work before all of us fathers and mothers, which is to tend to the threadbare remains of what was once the village, so that it may begin to remember why it came to be in the first place.
This is why parenting today as always before is village-making, not the spiritual doctoring of our own kind. It’s a gathering in of people and beings around all our children, so the world in which they come of age has the willingness and capacity to welcome them and steward them in ways we on our own cannot.