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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Parenting Should Be a Two-Way Street

"The Sun Zebra" is one of my favorite books and I am delighted to share this guest post by my good friend Rolando Garcia, an author who is as passionate about writing as he is about life. Happy Father's Day!

Available at Amazon

Under hypnosis adults can be coaxed to “regress” back to the time they were children. But this “regression,” despite all the sensationalistic claims in the popular press to the contrary, is not true. Scientists have observed that adults who are hypnotically “regressed” do not become children, rather they imitate children, and they do a very poor job at that. So alien is the experience of being children for us that even under the influence of hypnosis we cannot reproduce it convincingly. Why is this? Why as adults can’t we evoke accurately what it was to be a child?

I imagine this is because when we grow up the world view of the child is extinguished in our minds and replaced with that of the adult, and this probably has some survival value. The world can be a terrible place. Like they say “it’s a jungle out there.” With few exceptions children cannot effectively survive in the adult world. That is why children need parents to guide, protect, and educate them. But this tends to turn parenting into a one-way street. Children are cute and fun. We love and enjoy them. But even as we laugh with them (sometimes at them) we are conscious that their state is transitory, and we as parents know that it’s our job to bring about its demise gradually, effectively converting them into adults. Adults who will have, like us, forgotten what it was to be a child.

In our life children are seen as a joy, a stage, a fulfillment of some kind, or a rite of passage, but they are seldom seen as individuals from whom we can learn anything. And why should they? Children are not fit to live in the adult world. What can they possibly teach us that can be of any use in our lives? To me the answer is obvious. Children can teach us what it was to be a child. They can teach us to again see the world through the eyes of a child.

But why would we want to learn that?

The recently deceased writer Ray Bradbury once said the great thing about his life was that everything he accomplished was the result of who he was when he was 12 or 13 years old. In fact, he described himself as “that special freak, the man with the child inside who remembers all.” I paraphrase Mr. Bradbury, an author of boundless creativity and the kindest of hearts, to highlight the importance of making parenting a two-way street. Yes, we should educate children, but we should also allow children to educate us about remembering what it was to be a child and about seeing the world through the eyes of a child. This will enrich our lives as adults and help us know ourselves a little better because many aspects of our adult lives have been shaped by the child we were and how that child interacted with the world.

If you want a better understanding of what I mean, you can read my book “The Sun Zebra,” which is available as an e-book on Amazon. This book is what I describe as a “children’s book for grownups.” The stories deal with how the world of adults and its hard realities intersects with the magical carefree world of children. This book squarely fits the philosophy that parenting should be a two-way street.

So on this Father’s Day please take a good look at your children and consider carefully what they say and what they do. Not only are they probably the closest you can get to understanding who you were then and what you are now, but you can learn from them to see the world in a different light.


To order a copy of "The Sun Zebra," click here.

Visit Rolando Garcia's website to read his essays, short stories, and poems. You can also read his work on the social publishing site Scribd.