Choice Is The Right Option
By Jayashree Ashok

The importance of every child choosing their own life path cannot be emphasised enough. Every child has chosen a unique path for themselves. As Kahlil Gibran says – our children are life’s longing for itself. The child’s soul before birth makes conscious choices of what it wants to learn and experience in its life. Children when in tune with their own inner voice, naturally gravitate and show interest in areas close to their own soul’s journey. This must not be tampered with or drowned.  This inner expression of the child must be carefully observed and encouraged to blossom. Without which – the child grows up into a disempowered adult with the nagging feeling of not being complete. Something is always missing in life. When one follows their own journey – life is full of rich experiences and a deep sense of satisfaction that nothing can take away. There exists a synchronicity and flow using the immense soul power within.  Life itself falls into place naturally and easily.

Very often, well-meaning parents project all their life’s desires and ambitions on to their children.  Using direct authority or more carefully disguised subtle pressures and manipulations, children are unwillingly steered in a direction against their choice. Parental expectations and societal beliefs can together truly traumatise children. These dramas especially play out in adolescence – a critical period when the child’s fragile ego strength is building up. When this is in conflict with the child’s inner voice or journey, all hell breaks loose.  Some children are more sensitive than others and sense their parent’s desires for them. All children at some level want to please their parents. When their inner desires are in conflict with their parents – the child experiences many conflicting emotions ranging from rebellion to self-doubt, anguish and anger. Depending upon the child’s personality they turn rebellious or squash out their own inner voice. In both cases, the child ends up hurting themselves and their sense of self-worth is greatly diminished. Neither of these is desirable in the long run. Both lack the proper foundation of unconditional love that is truly life’s building block. During this age – a child needs a friend and guide who can listen sensitively and help the child take a wise decision based on their own inner calling.

Healthy choices come from a foundation of unconditional love. Parents and children can sit down together and discuss options with full awareness and trusting the child’s inner longings. Sometimes children may choose more difficult paths for themselves in accordance with their own soul’s plan. In this case a parent’s unconditional love and support is even more required. Such awareness and unconditional support is truly possible when the parent is themselves in tune with their inner journey. When a parent is used to suppressing their inner voice – how can they listen to their child’s voice? One needs an overall outlook towards life including material, emotional and spiritual needs, and a deeper understanding of the soul’s overall journey. Otherwise career choices are only skewed by material and physical needs. Such a broad outlook is truly the spiritual foundation for the family that will help each member live a balanced life in tune with their soul’s path.

The school also plays an important role in this. Ideally, schools should have a wide curriculum with a range of subject areas including arts, sports, imaginative play, curricular subjects, languages, theatre and fine arts, spiritual sciences and lots and lots of storytelling. At the younger ages – children can be exposed to many different areas, as wide as possible without forcing participation. Children can be present and active without being pressurized. As they grow older, their tastes will tend to stabilize and they can now choose based on what they want. It is common to see young children exploring different areas and interests all the time.  Adults can offer areas steadily but respect children’s participation or non-participation. Out of this emerge their likes and dislikes. We need to provide space for the children to express dislikes without taking it personally. A lot of emotional support also needs to be provided to children in areas they find challenging. Sometimes a challenge turns into their favourite. One never knows with children!!

A lot of parental and school support is needed for a child to find their own path. It is truly worth it! If we adults can figure this out and get it working practically, our world will truly be a more empowered place in the able hands of young people living their chosen paths to the fullest!!