By Seamus Anthony
If you want your children to grow up happy, you yourself must learn to be happy. If you want them to live passionately, striving for their dreams, living a life they love – then you must show them how through your own life. Completely sacrificing your own happiness will not magically transfer happiness onto your kids, it will just teach them to sacrifice their own happiness.
As a responsible family man, if you want to meet your own needs (and you should) you need to introduce a high level of self-discipline into your schedule. I think this is the major challenge for a lot of us: how to meet the needs of the family and also meet your own needs. Most of us think we do not have enough time to meet our own needs, so the guitar stays in its case for months on end (despite the inner calling to play) the massage never gets booked (despite the painful crick in the neck), the paints stay in their box and the exercise routine withers and dies after only a few short bursts of energy.
And yet this need for nurturing the self does actually get met, it just may be that when you say “I don’t have the time” in fact what you are really doing is avoiding the issue and instead not making the time.
How To Find The Time
The answer is simple. I get up at 5am, Monday to Friday, to spend the first two hours of my day building my dream. I don’t knock myself out with substances the night before and I go to bed early so that I am fresh in the morning. It’s not that hard, the secret is to be getting up to do something you love, something that means something to you, more than recreation – a purpose.
The Monkey Mind tricks you into meeting your needs in ways that do not help you to progress. You may protest that no, you really don’t have the time, but yet you probably find time to veg out in front of the TV, play computer games to wind down, drink beer or other tasty beverages either with your mates or alone, smoke some pot, or read novels for an hour every night before bed.
And of course, so you should, nobody is saying that it is wrong to do these things or that you don’t deserve and need some down time, of course you do. The trouble arises however when we fall into the habit of always catering to these base needs without ever making the time to deal with our higher needs, like finding an avenue for self expression or healing our hearts, minds and bodies.
When I see people who have completely surrendered their own needs and desires over to their families, I feel a bit sad for them and for their own family. The reasons I feel sad for them is because I believe that it is the wrong strategy for a strong, healthy family even if it seems like the best strategy in the short term.
Men Need To Find and Answer Their Calling
…and let’s face it, your calling probably isn’t what you do all day to earn a buck.
The man who never gets to meet his own needs, or who is trapped in a cycle of meeting his own needs in sub-standard ways, brings his dysfunction into the family energy sphere, causing pain and strain between family members and ultimately leaving as part of his inheritance to his children a legacy of issues that will be carried down through the generations.
There is nothing unmanly about taking the time out to acknowledge and respond to the call of our Higher Self. This call is louder than we care to admit, but subtle enough that we can pretend to drown it out in our day to day lives with the noise of work, substances, duty and recreation.
However, the ultimate result of this is a life less fulfilled; a journey not fully undertaken and a heart that withers and dies on the vine. This results in men who are not actually fantastic examples of towering strength to the children but instead miserable models of misguided virtue. The lesson we often teach is one of complete self-sacrifice to duty, which on the surface this seems like a great lesson to teach, but in fact it is incomplete.
Yes, you must teach your kids that a man meets his responsibilities, but you must also teach that the whole man also finds time to explore and meet his own needs, because in doing so:
- you will become so much more effective in every area of your life
- your children will grow up healthier with a father who teaches the lesson that responsibility and self-actualisation can in fact go hand-in-hand
- and that part of a healthy and well-rounded life experience is staying true to yourself and to your journey on the path to wholeness.
By answering the Higher Call with maturity and a sensible outlook, we will see that being a Warrior of Purpose is the best lesson we can teach our children. After all, you want your kids to believe that they can achieve great things and be happy. The way to teach them this is not to trash your own happiness and fulfilment but to direct part of your time, as much as is appropriate for wherever you are in your life, to finding and pursuing your Ultimate Purpose.
Teach how to do by doing, teach how to be by being. Redirect some of your spare time into the pursuit of the thing that gives you more energy (your Ultimate Purpose) and you will be surprised to find that in fact you do have the time and you do have the energy.
Watching too much TV, too many hours spent playing computer games, smoking too much pot, drinking too much beer, or just being too bored, serious or stressed – all these things sap your energy, leaving you spinning your wheels in the car park of your life. Deep inside, you know you’re bigger than that. It’s time for you to do something about that.