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A Covenant for Honouring Children

We find these joys to be self evident: That all children are created whole, endowed with innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect. The embodiment of life, liberty and happiness, children are original blessings, here to learn their own song. Every girl and boy is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving “village.” And to pursue a life of purpose.

We affirm our duty to nourish and nurture the young, to honour their caring ideals as the heart of being human. To recognize the early years as the foundation of life, and to cherish the contribution of young children to human evolution.

We commit ourselves to peaceful ways and vow to keep from harm or neglect these, our most vulnerable citizens. As guardians of their prosperity we honour the bountiful Earth whose diversity sustains us. Thus we pledge our love for generations to come.

Child Honouring Principles

The words of A Covenant for Honouring Children suggest nine guiding principles for living. Taken together, they offer a holistic way of restoring natural and human communities, thus brightening the outlook for the world we share. They form the basis for a multi-faith consensus on societal renewal.

Respectful Love is key. It speaks to the need to respect children as whole people and to encourage them to know their own voices. Children need the kind of love that sees them as legitimate beings, persons in their own right. Respectful love instills self-worth; it’s the prime nutrient in human development. Children need this not only from parents and caregivers, but from the whole community.

Diversity is about abundance: of human dreams, intelligences, cultures, and cosmologies; of earthly splendours and ecosystems. Introducing children to biodiversity and human diversity at an early age builds on their innate curiosity. There’s a world of natural wonders to discover, and a wealth of cultures, of ways to be human. Comforted by how much we share, we’re able to delight in our differences.

Caring Community refers to the “village” it takes to raise a child. The community can positively affect the lives of its children. Child-friendly shopkeepers, family resource centres, green schoolyards, bicycle lanes, and pesticide-free parks are some of the ways a community can support its young.

Conscious Parenting can be taught from an early age; it begins with empathy for newborns. Elementary and secondary schools could teach nurturant parenting (neither permissive nor oppressive) and provide insight into the child-rearing process. Such knowledge helps to deter teen pregnancies and unwanted children. Emotionally aware parents are much less likely to perpetuate abuse or neglect.

Emotional Intelligence sums up what early life is about: a time for exploring emotions in a safe setting, learning about feelings and how to express them. Those who feel loved are most able to learn and to show compassion for others. Emotional management builds character and is more important to later success than IQ. Cooperation, play, and creativity all foster the “EQ” needed for a joyful life.

Nonviolence is central to emotional maturity, to family relations, to community values, and to the character of societies that aspire to live in peace. It means more than the absence of aggression; it means living with compassion. Regarding children, it means no corporal punishment, no humiliation, no coercion. “First do no harm,” the physicians’ oath, must now apply to all our relations; it can become a mantra for our times. A culture of peace begins in a nonviolent heart, and a loving home.

Safe Environments foster a child’s feeling of security and belonging. The very young need protection from the toxic influences that permeate modern life-from domestic neglect and maltreatment, to the corporate manipulations of their minds, to the poisonous chemicals entering their bodies. The first years are when children are most impressionable and vulnerable; they need safeguarding.

Sustainability refers not merely to conservation of resources, renewable energy development, and anti-pollution laws. To be sustainable, societies need to build social capacity by investing in their young citizens, harnessing the productive power of a contented heart. The loving potential of every young child is a potent source for good in the world.

Ethical Commerce is fundamental to a child-honouring world. It includes a revolution in the design, manufacture and sale of goods; corporate reform; “triple bottom line” business; full-cost accounting; tax and subsidy shifts; political and economic cycles that reward long-term thinking. Ethical commerce would enable a restorative economy devoted to the well being of the very young.

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Please check out this PowerPoint presentation:

The Power of Oxytocin: Discover the Breakthrough Hormone Essential for a Happy Home and Relationship by  Bryan Post with Helene Timpone, LCSW

slides #9 on “The Stress Model” and #10 on “Oxytocin Rich Parenting vs. Oxytocin Poor Parenting” are principles I visualize daily in my interactions with people, especially the little ones.

The first time I saw slide #10 at a “Beyond Consequences” training, it was tiled as a continuum from love-based to fear-based parenting.  Up to that point, I thought I was practicing positive, loving parenting yet shocked to learn I had so much room to grow. Now considering the traditional parenting styles I was more positive, yet I discovered that I was getting triggered into fear-based reactions,  emitting negative energy that was adding more stress to my son (and me), as well as trying to control him and inevitable circumstances.

Click following link to read more about my ramblings on the illusion of control…

What is a normal child like? Does he just eat and grow and smile sweetly? No, that is not what he is like. The normal child, if he has confidence in mother and father, pulls out all stops. In the course of time he tries out his power to disrupt, to destroy, to frighten, to wear down, to waste, to wrangle, and to appropraite…At the start he absolutely needs to live in a circle of love and strength (with consequent tolerance) if he is not to be fearful of his own thoughts and his images to make progress in his emotional development

-Donald W. Winnecott, The Child, The Family, and the Outside World

I first read this quote from the book Raising Cain (page 239).  I think I shouted “Yes!!! Exactly!” a dozen times as I read it. I find it a bit amusing when I over hear parents talking about “How could their child do x,y, or z,  to them?”  How do you react when someone cuts you off? Or tells you “no”? Or calls you out on an inappropriate behavior? I am guessing it is in the vein of “How dare you do that to me?”

Children are reacting normally. It is just most people have been dismissed, shamed, and spoon-fed or even clobbered into them these so-called beliefs of how we should be. We are terrified that if our child behaves this way now, that they will never learn the “right way”.  So we react to our fear with anger, not even noticing that own reaction is the same reaction of our child’s, the only difference is that ours may be bit more refined [Although I have heard of an adult hitting (or worse) a child because their child hit someone].

I have seen that it takes a lot (sadly, a lot of emotional harm) for a child to lose confidence in their mother and father. They are truly resilient so we have ample opportunities to change and respond appropriately with unconditional love and respectful guidance. In the end, if one learns to truly embrace the negative, love and accept yourself and everyone else through it, then the negativity dissipates and transcends into unimaginable greatness.

Being human is such a on-going learning process because even though I have experienced these wonders, I frequently get caught up in a wave of negativity and react. But I know I have made  heaps of progress because this is happening less often and I am catching them sooner. I am grateful I have a partner who loves me unconditionally. I have the support, courage, and insight to give this level of presence and acceptance to my children. as well as love us all through when we struggle.

“The problem is, and I learned this from the research, that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You cannot say, ‘Here’s the bad stuff. Here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s disappointment. I don’t want to feel these. I’m going to have a couple of beers and a banana-nut muffin. I don’t want to feel these.’ … You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects or emotions. So when we numb those, we numb joy. We numb gratitude. We numb happiness. And then we are miserable and we are looking for purpose and meaning. And then we feel vulnerable so we have a couple of beers and a banana-nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle…

To practice gratitude and joy, in those moments of kind of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you that much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ Just to be able to stop and instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, ‘I’m just so grateful. Because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive…

And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place that says, ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening. We’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

Click link for more highlights of video

To learn more about Brene Brown, click here


By Robin Grille and Beth McGregor

I have discovered that my most productive and harmonious days are the ones I start with telling myself:

It is OK to not get all my stuff done today.

The most important thing I need to do is nurture myself and loved ones.

It is on these days when I have been baking, fixing, cleaning, singing, dancing and playing with my kids well before noon. It is sad that although these two statements seem so simple to say, my body/mind/soul has been trained to believe that I must suffer to learn… That I must achieve every action with seamless perfection. This pressure keeps pushing and pulling at me, leading to a dysregulated (i.e. physically/mentally/emotionally stressed) state. When a past trauma is triggered in this state, I mistrust my innate resources and fears rule. I resist change and even positive forces. I become addicted to my suffering as it is the one constant and dependable companion.

Fortunately, I was blessed with many resiliency factors and I have thrived under pressure. All negative behavior comes from a state of stress and unmet needs. If someone is yelling, criticizing, accusing, nagging, over-reacting, controlling etc., then that person is in a state of stress (internal and/or external). Identifying needs and feelings eases the stress and eases the negative behavior as well as works to heal past hurts and rewire core negative beliefs. It also opens the door to further understanding, connection and establishing trust.

Deep breaths and baby steps… Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth.”

~Father Alfred D’Souza

“Children are mirrors; they will always show you exactly what is going on inside of you. Each phase of their growth is an opportunity to heal your own pain, to go deeper inside yourself and become more truly human.” ~Vimala McClure

I cannot count all the times this has reflected in my life through my children. I even see the pattern with my dogs, who were my first kids. I am so grateful that I reached out for help, committed myself to healing, can feel my children’s cries and take responsibility for the energy I emit.

One glaring reflection is feeling intense insecurity and fear in social situations. My son has been blessed with a gregarious heart and a wonderful group of friends. Every time he asks to have them over, I look at my house and feel dread and panic. I am inundated with a daunting list of all the things I should do but don’t want to. I am terrified to think what people will think of me and being judged.   He ends up, rightfully, pleading with me. I start spurting out a frantic list of things to do for me to feel comfortable to call a friend. This ends up stressing him out to where he gives up and feels guilty for even asking.

The whole interchange triggers my feelings of inadequacy and craziness like I am failing as a person and parent. To further the insult, I am aware that I role-modeling to my son that we should feel ashamed and to give up. My fears are pushing away the level of connectedness I preach and desperately need.

An amusing side to this scenario was that I was so overwhelmed with the negativity that consumed me about inviting people to our house that I started to use my dog as an excuse. My dog was so in tuned with me that he sensed my fear and would behave more aggressively to protect me. His attentive behaviors than triggered more fears in me which only escalated his protectiveness because he could sense my heightened fear. Negativity begets negativity and it cycles on till it escalates enough that someone gets physically hurt (emotional pain is usually prominent and ongoing).

My dog was fulfilling my self-prophecy that I cannot handle it, that I should feel afraid, and need protection. F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. I knew I needed to face this when my son started introducing strangers to me and arranging play dates himself. I am at a pivotal point where healing my social fears and judgmental thoughts as well as choosing to give my son a new story of how to overcome fears. Thank goodness I have a thousand tools to do this and not afraid to see my reflection. I am grateful for the light my children shine on me. They inspire me to be a better person every day.

You get a glimpse of Vimala’s book, Tao of Motherhood


I will open the present of today with extra care. With any information I receive from all my senses, I will acknowledge the suffering, accept its validity, and respond with benevolence.

I pray for that I can find the grace I need to handle the bumps and holes tripping me up.  I feel as a star trying to fit into a square hole. My mind races in four dimensions but feel stuck living in a 3-D world. A broken child, a recovering spirit.I feel responsible for every wrong yet know I only have control of my present thoughts.

I know I will find my center and core source, in fact it has never left me. This momentary lapse is a normal part of the journey and an opportunity to grow. I will overcome the negative tapes of intense fear, insecurity and judgement. I am joy and peace.

It is not about avoiding falls, its about getting up gracefully with love, respect, and gratitude.


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