Tapping Into Inner Wisdom & Innate Intelligence to Guide Interactions
Scene: A huge truck jams itself under a bridge on Storrow Drive in Boston, and becomes stuck. Traffic is backed up for miles. No one knows what to do. They call in engineers to handle the situation.
Sitting in a car stuck in traffic, an 8 year old boy turns to his dad and says, “Dad, why don’t they just let some air out of the tires?”
Our children have the capacity inside of them to tap into wisdom and innate intelligence if their minds are clear enough to hear it.
Scene 2: Our son Drake was recruited to play basketball at a college in Massachusets. Before he arrived, the coach who recruited him left. A new coach came in. As a freshman, Drake sat on the bench the entire season because the new coach only played seniors. Then, as a sophomore, he was forced into a starting role.
As we sit there watching him play, we notice that he’s not taking any chances out there. He’s not playing up to his capacity. We look over and see the coach screaming at the players trying to get them to play right. But that only works against him. Drake is playing to not make a mistake so he won’t be screamed at and benched, instead of playing from him heart and just letting the game flow.
By the middle of the season, the team was continually losing, and the coach was increasingly on their cases. Then one of the best players got kicked off the team for doing something stupid, the center became very ill after his mother died, so he was out of action, and the point guard decided to transfer.
At this point, Drake figures he has nothing left to lose, so he cleared out his head and just played, ignoring the coach.
Because his head had cleared, he had clicked into his higher level of functioning and innate intelligence, which made him play from the heart, tap into the purity of his skills and completely focus on the moment at hand, unencumbered by any extraneous thoughts such as how well he was doing.
Acting out of a clear head made Drake play at his peak, given his level of skills and abilities.
This is equally true for sports, music, art, writing, and everything- including parenting.
When children’s minds calm down they tap into their innate intelligence and are at their best.
The Capacity for Clarity and Insight Through Innate Intelligence
Unencumbered by extraneous thoughts we all have this capacity to be at our best and to act out of it. It’s built into us.
To see this, all we have to do is ask ourselves where we are or what we’re doing when we get our best ideas. Sometimes it happens while we’re in the shower, while driving, while reading, or just simply relaxing.
In nearly every case, it’s when the mind is relaxed. Into that void pops wisdom. It’s insights from a deeper intelligence. A natural, innate intelligence. This wisdom often takes the form of common sense.
The reason we didn’t see it before is because our minds were filled up, scrambling, processing too much information, pushing our insecurity buttons. We’re often too close to something to see the bigger picture.
But if we clear our heads it appears. Like a radio receiver when the channel is clear it picks up signals seemingly from out of the blue. The signals it picks up contain an innate intelligence of fresh ideas.
We would be wise to put this relaxed, flowing thinking into play in dealing with our children.
Stepping Back to See What’s Really Being Learned by Our Children
Scene: Jasmine, a 2 year old, was driving her mother crazy. Every morning when mom needed Jasmine to be ready to leave the house to get to an appointment on time, Jasmine would stall. When her mother went to make her get ready, Jasmine would throw a temper tantrum. Her mother would say, “If you don’t come right now, I’m going to leave without you.” Jasmine would get scared and cry as her mother grabbed her to get ready.
The mother is too frustrated and riled up to see her way out of this cycle. Every morning she anticipates the worst and gets it. Every morning she does the most expedient thing at the time. Yet, if she were to pause, take a step back and observe, she would see a few things. She would see Jasmine clearly is learning some lessons, but not the lessons her mother wants her to learn.
What Lessons Are Jasmine Learning?
First, she’s learning that if someone scares you enough, or gets really serious, you cooperate; otherwise, why bother? You may as well stall until you get really scared that they’re really going to do something.
Jasmine hasn’t learned the 2nd lesson yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Soon she’ll learn that her mother isn’t really serious about leaving her behind; that it’s just an idle threat not to be taken seriously. So Jasmine doesn’t really need to listen after all.
Further, by her mother lying to her, Jasmine will also learn it’s OK to lie; that what’s OK for her mother is OK for her as well.
Jasmine is also learning that power and force ultimately prevail. She is engaged in a battle of wills. Both are immersed in a power struggle. Her mother wins eventually because she is more powerful. But it’s only a matter of time- 10 or 13 years more before the tables are turned.
Step back and ask, “What is my child learning from what I’m saying and doing?” Then, common sense steps in. It makes sense to then ask, “OK, what do I want my child to learn instead?”
I’d rather not have my child fear learn fear from me. I’d rather her learn she’s safe with me. It would be best not to coerce her with fear.
She might also have realized that because child services took Jasmine away from her for a few months and shunted her from one foster home to another, Jasmine is scared to death about being left behind. By saying, “I’ll leave you if you don’t come now,” it only exacerbates her fears.
I’d like my child to count on me and what I say. It would be best then, to follow through with what is said. If I say I’m going to leave her behind, I really have to be willing to do it. Am I willing to really leave her? No. It would be best then, to find something to say that’s not a lie.
I’d rather not have my child learn that the only time she has to obey is when she’s forced. I don’t want to her to learn that life is all about power struggles. I’d rather have her learn that life is about cooperation and helping each other out.
I’d like her to learn that when a commitment is made you keep it, whether you feel like it at the time or not. It would be best, then, to disengage from the power struggle and show her caring and firmness at the same time.
So with this new perspective, mom could say, “Honey, I really don’t like having to do this to you. I know you don’t like it and I’m sorry. But mommy has an appointment that she’s got to go to, and I can’t leave you behind. So you have to come with me now, sweetie.”
Due to past history, Jasmine will throw a temper tantrum and scream that she’s not going. She’s used to it and it gets attention.
“Sweetie, it’s not a question of whether you will go. It’s how you will go. It’s so much nicer for everyone if you come nicely. It’s nicer for you and it’s nicer for me. You tell me how you’d like to do it. What can I do to help you?”
If she still kicks and screams and moans, we would want to make it a non-issue. As much as humanly possible we would want to not respond. As gently as possible, under the circumstances, and saying as little as possible, we simply do what we have to do to get her ready and not buy into her temporary insanity.
This shows her there is no issue; she is simply going to come with us, either kicking and screaming or nicely and cooperatively.
Mom might be tempted to say, “We’ll do something nice together later when we get back”, but we have to be careful. First, we must be absolutely certain if we say it we will do it, because we want her to be able to count on us. And 2nd, we don’t want her to think that she’ll agree to go only to get some reward later on.
By stepping back and gaining new perspective we can see what we really want to accomplish in the long run. Then we only have to do what makes sense because it’s only common sense. With a clear mind, wisdom and innate intelligence and common sense appear.