“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you they belong not to you…
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrow may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.”
Holistic parenting is a dance between the archer, the bow and the arrow. As parents we bend with the movement of our children and are exhilarated with their growth. We sometimes hope for the archer to launch this arrow to a certain destination and suffer when our assumptions are not fulfilled by the archer. Therefore parenting is both a joy and a test of patience and endurance.
Holistic parenting is acceptance of the quality of the bow given to us. It requires the best cooperation with our children as the arrows, who are with us for a short while. It is parenting of body, mind and spirit, responding to the nobility of human beings and working for the nurturing of these noble, inherent qualities. When a child is born, a little bundle of potential is presented to the parents and the greatest joy in parenting comes from the fruition of these inherent gifts and faculties.
Like fruits of different trees, children differ in nature one from the other. In the Bahá’í Writings, we find that human beings are all endowed with gifts and faculties and in creation there is only good. (See Bahá’í Writing for further detailswww.bahai.org). It is through holistic parenting and education that all the gifts of children can be discovered and nurtured. A human being has a body, mind and spirit. Though we hear the cry of the child for milk and other physical needs are easily demonstrated, intellectual and spiritual needs are as dominant. Without fulfilment of these needs, one might find one’s self in total loss despite every physical comfort.
Holistic parenting gives direction to the efforts exerted by parents. In this system, life becomes a journey rather than a destination and “how” becomes as important as “what”. Through holistic parenting and education one tries to transform one’s life in every aspect. One of the transforming aspects of holistic education is connection to self. Children have to know who they are and what is the purpose of their lives. This simple and complex understanding will empower them to choose the course of their lives. This is the one of the most fundamental aspects of holistic parenting.
They also need to have connection with others and understand interpersonal relationships. In holistic parenting one is encouraged to know more about all races, creeds, cultures and spiritual beliefs. Through this connection, they will know more about their own selves.
Children need to have connection to nature, which is one of the best trainers and healers. If these connections are made with nature as a family affair, then the joy is shared and all will benefit from the experience. Connection with nature not only purifies our lungs, it purifies our hearts and souls. Holistic parenting starts with walking the path of discovery with our children and participating in their investigation of the mysteries of life.
Parenting is a second chance to live life again, this time with our future generation, to share their awe and wonder as they discover the world. Holistic parenting is the completion of all aspects of this joy. It is important to continue this parenting process at school, as children need such support for many years before being able to walk alone.