The picture is of me in 1976. I was two years old. Phoenix's father, Ayden wasn't even close to being born (lucky me) and I had no idea of the adventure my life would become.
I look in those eyes and I can see Phoenix now, wide eyed, a slight humour already, innocence and a natural ability to, not give a flying fuck about what anyone might be thinking about him. He is just 'naturally' Phoenix - he instinctively knows who he is, more than any adult does. I think all children and animals are closer to their souls than any adult and what I want to know is, how do I nurture my baby boy, without turning him to a psychopath? How do I keep his core in tact, while preparing him to live in a modern society?
I feel like if I tip the scales the wrong way even slightly, it could have a devastating effect. I know most parents must feel like this.
For example a few moments ago. I was writing, Phoenix was playing happily with his dad in another room. I wandered in to where they were to ask Ayden a question, got my answer and walked out again, Phoenix then started to cry. As I walked away, it struck me, I didn't even acknowledge my precious boy. I don't even think I looked at him. I then started to think, what if that sort of thing has a lasting effect? What if that is the start of bringing in insecurities. Equally though, say I do make sure I always smile at my baby and make him feel special every time I see him, will he then expect life to give him all he wants? I came to the conclusion, you just can't win and we really don't know. I've read many psychology books and they seem to make sense but how do we know? What's right for one child may be a disaster for another.
Did you give your children enough attention today? If you didn't, they may become a loner or seek attention in destructive ways. If you gave them too much they may become narcissistic ego maniacs.
When they fall over, do you laugh it off or must you hug them so they know you care? If you laugh it off for example, it creates less drama but if you don't show you care do they think they are worthless?
Should you swear in front of them? Why sensor words? Language is important... but what if they swear at a teacher and what if people think they are un-cared for if you allow swearing?
Do you let them eat sugar? If you don't will they fixate on it and get an eating disorder but if you do will they be fat or unhealthy, will their teeth be ruined?
Obviously I am a 'medically approved' mental case. I have the Dr's notes to prove it. In some ways though I've come to realise it makes me less mental than people who never ever face their demons. I can identify these people easily. They are never wrong and are very quick to use my 'certified insanity' against me, by telling me how insane I am. They don't realise we are all a little insane but you become much less unbalanced when you accept your humanity, your nature, your distraction.
I have been in out of counselling for years and what strikes me about counselling is that we adults are encouraged to discuss and unravel our feelings. We are encouraged to cry, express ourselves and love ourselves. Obviously this is then slapped out of us again after our therapy session by every day life, work and other human beings. However, to reclaim our sanity we are encouraged to listen to ourselves and indulge our inner child if possible.
Now, when it comes to our actual children we seem to do quite the opposite and it strikes me that if we just try and understand their tantrums, realise their needs and allow them to be a wonderful multifaceted human, while obviously trying to mould them in to the tightly structured rather un-human society, then maybe we just might save them a bundle of money when they are older on counselling sessions.
One of the basic features of being human is, we all want our own way. If you really think about it you will see that's what we all mainly strive for. It's why society goes wrong, it's why people fight, it's why people break up, it's why we bully, it's why we manipulate, it's why we crave money and on a more positive note, it's how we survive. The need to get our own way drives us forward and even possibly helps us evolve.
We start this basic need right from the day we are born. Children want their own way and they will do whatever it takes. It's a natural instinct because it helps them survive. Now yes, it is annoying when they cry and create because they want your mobile phone to bite or they want to stay up later or they want that toy, but next time they have a tantrumy reaction, pause for a moment and listen to their inner child, listen to it now. They just want to be heard and quite often once you have been heard and you feel understood you don't need your own way as much. Let them understand their emotions and encourage and guide them to fix their feelings whether they get their way or not. Be their mirror and be as patient and kind as you should be to your own inner child.
It's hard when you are working to try and pay your bills and your child is whinging in your ear - but think of your own inner child when you react to them. Try to nurture their souls and understand their feelings so that their true nature can flourish.
Let's try and get rid of this very selfish world we live in at the moment. This world of 'selfies' and fake everything. Let's try and teach this generation that they are enough. If they want to hide behind a mask of fashions, as all generations do, that's fine but let's try and let them look inward for approval, not outward to social media and their peers. Let's try and help them to truly be at peace with themselves by understanding who they are. That is a real gift as so many people never truly know or face who they are.
I guarantee that every single one of our children have the perfect soul, the perfect personality and that they are a credit to society already. I'm going to treat Phoenix how I think my inner child would like to be treated, that is going to be my guide from now on.