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Excerpted from Spiritual Parenting by Hugh and Gayle Prather. Copyright © 1996 by Hugh and Gayle Prather. Excerpted by permission of Harmony Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"As parents we should consider ourselves more like a Sherpa guide than a trainer or commanding officer."

Hugh and Gayle Prather, Spiritual Parenting, Part 3

To put it another way, an aunt, uncle, stepparent, primary caregiver, or merely a citizen of our country or member of our society should seek the well-being of children above all else. If our relationship with children is a sacred trust-and that is the Premise of spiritual parenting--in no circumstances can anything be more important than protecting and nourishing the children in our care. Those are the functions of the adult in all species. And we are not an exception. None of the heinous acts recorded in human history would have occurred if children had been the world's priority.

While discipline in the sense of a sustained commitment to a goal is a strength worth pursuing, this is not the way the term is most often used with regard to children. Discipline usually means punishment, a concept that is not entirely useful for those who wish to approach parenting as a spiritual path. If your most deeply held desire is to know God, to make all that you do an act of worship, then the guidance you give your child will be more like the light touch of a butterfly on a flower than the heavy hand of domination that "breaks the will" of a weaker ego. Rather than dispensing rules, regulations, and righteousness, you seek to assist your child to see the path clearly. After all, we are all on this journey together, regardless of our age.

As parents we should consider ourselves more like a Sherpa guide than a trainer or commanding officer. As one who has greater experience, but not greater value, our function is to climb the mountain beside our child, providing direction wherever we can, but above all offering our constant support. Then as we near the peak--as the child becomes an adolescent and then an adult--we stay back and let him or her pursue the dream, asking not even for credit for how much we helped along the way.

Before that time comes, we are willing to act as porter, chauffeur, companion, or nurse--when our child needs this. We are willing to provide whatever facilitates our children’s ascent of the mountain, and since we are always beside them in this endeavor, we advance also. Our function is not to push, force, bully, or terrorize, because the mountaintop is an attainment of the heart. Only peace leads our children to peace; only love can find the place of Love.

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