Con­scious Par­ent­ing

An ex­cerpt from: She­fali Ts­abary PhD. “The Con­scious Par­ent”

Healthy Mama - - Lifestyle -

One morn­ing, my daugh­ter shook me from sleep with great ex­cite­ment. “The fairy has left you an amaz­ing present,” she whis­pered. “See what the tooth fairy left you!”

I reached un­der the pil­low and found a one dol­lar note, torn down the middle in ex­actly half. Said my daugh­ter, “The fairy left half a dol­lar for you, and the other half is un­der daddy’s pil­low.”

I was speech­less.

Si­mul­ta­ne­ously I found my­self in a dilemma. All of those mes­sages about “money doesn’t grow on trees” and how im­por­tant it was for my daugh­ter to learn the value of cur­rency came flood­ing into my mind. Should I use this op­por­tu­nity to teach her about not wast­ing money, ex­plain­ing to her that a dol­lar note torn in half is worth­less?

I re­al­ized that this was a mo­ment in which how I re­sponded could make or break my child’s spirit. Thank­fully I chose to shelve the les­son and tell her how proud I was of her will­ing­ness to be so gen­er­ous with her one and only dol­lar. As I thanked the fairy for her big heart­ed­ness and her acute sense of fair­ness in giv­ing both daddy and my­self an equal share, my daugh­ter’s eyes re­sponded with a sparkle bright enough to illumine the bed­room.


Par­ent­hood af­fords many oc­ca­sions in which we find our­selves in a bat­tle be­tween our mind and our heart, which makes rais­ing a child akin to walk­ing a tightrope. A sin­gle mis­placed re­sponse can shrivel a child’s spirit, whereas the right com­ment can en­cour­age them to soar. In each mo­ment, we can choose to make or break, foster or cause to freeze up. When our chil­dren are just be­ing them­selves, they are un­con­cerned about the things we par­ents so of­ten ob­sess over. How things look to other peo­ple, achieve­ment, get­ting ahead—none of th­ese is­sues that pre­oc­cupy adults are a child’s agenda. In­stead of en­gag­ing the world in an anx­ious men­tal state, chil­dren tend to plunge head first into the ex­pe­ri­ence of life, will­ing to risk all.

The morn­ing the fairy vis­ited my bed­room, my daugh­ter wasn’t think­ing about ei­ther the value of money or the egoic is­sue of whether I would be im­pressed she had shared her dol­lar. Nei­ther was she wor­ried she might be wak­ing me too early. She was sim­ply be­ing her won­der­fully cre­ative self, joy­ously ex­press­ing her gen­eros­ity and de­light­ing in her par­ents’ dis­cov­ery that the fairy had vis­ited us for a change.

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