Home | Books | Articles | Q & A | Credentials
A Spiritual Approach to
Secrets of Raising the 21st Century Child
by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.
As I contemplated writing this book on the Aquarian age family, I reflected on the extraordinary cultural shifts that have occurred since the turn of the century. We rang in the new age on New Year's Day 2000, and our lives changed dramatically less than two years later with the shocking events of September 11, 2001. It's been a time of fast-moving change ever since. And parents have concerns: How do we prepare our youth and children to feel secure and find their way in a crazy world? That's what the information and case examples in this book are all about.
Long were you a dream in your mother's sleep,
and then she woke to give you birth.
— Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam
Fortunately, we also have good news! Amazing new souls are coming into embodiment and changing the complexion of family life. Even as families are running full speed ahead to keep up with cultural change, the Indigo, Crystal and "spirited" children are providing inspiration and inducing everyone to take lightning steps forward. Many of these children are advanced souls who know that they are here for a cosmic purpose.
They are coming in while we are at a spiritual crossroads in both planetary and personal life.
We will either take a stand for higher values or stay stuck in the quagmire of political and economic turmoil, international conflict, terrorist attacks and the ever-present threat of nuclear war.
In the midst of worldwide unrest the Aquarian energy is prompting us to explore the facets of our Higher Self and to forge a higher destiny. And the family as the cradle of love and hope is where it all begins.
While we do not remember every detail of our growing-up years, every encounter has left its impression. Our character is molded by these formative experiences. Our opinions are developed within family norms and our habits installed in the family circle. Indeed, we are molded, for better or for worse, by who we are genetically and who we become as the result of early life experiences. Are these characteristics indelible? No, but they definitely influence us both consciously and subconsciously.
Life itself is the greatest teacher, and the lessons of life are typically a mix of ups and downs. Children are born with a sense of wonder and delight about exploring life. And the task of the family is to ready young people to meet life's challenges. Thus we are called to nurture, mentor and lend a helping hand as needed.
Some Teachers We Never Forget
When we reflect on our upbringing, we realize we had a few outstanding teachers who helped us take giant steps forward in our education and life skills. Do you remember a sterling teacher who touched your life in a profound way? What were the special qualities of that person? Why was he or she such a good teacher?
I realize that the teachers who helped me jump forward in my education were those who knew their subject backwards and forwards. They ignited my interest, related the subject to life experience, appreciated my talents, encouraged my efforts and rewarded my achievements. And they also shared a respect for young people, which helped to bring out the best in their students.
Actually these teachers were transformational mentors who helped us take a successful leap into the unknown. They were supportive, a sounding board for our ideas, and a source of help and encouragement when we were confused or downhearted. Their example and support helped us expand our minds and establish positive attitudes and skills for lifelong learning.
The most profound mentor I ever had is Elizabeth Clare Prophet, whose husband Mark L. Prophet founded The Summit Lighthouse, a worldwide organization that draws on the teachings of the world's great spiritual traditions. She has been an inspiration to me, and her wisdom is the foundation of much of the spiritual teaching in this book on family and children.
I remember the first time I met her, in 1973. It was at La Tourelle, a stately mansion in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she and her husband had established The Summit Lighthouse headquarters.
I had driven down from my home in Boulder, Colorado, to pursue what was to become a life-changing journey. I looked up as I drove through the gates and saw a woman standing at a floor-length window on the second floor. What caught my attention was the glow of white light that surrounded her. In my heart I knew this was a magnificent woman I needed to get to know.
As I parked the car I reflected on my initial acquaintance with the teachings of The Summit Lighthouse. I felt the excitement all over again and laughed to myself as I remembered what had happened. I had been busy raising my three teenage children, keeping up with my private practice, and working at the University of Colorado as a clinical psychologist—counseling students and teaching graduate-level psychology courses. I was seeking enlightenment in my own way, but I wasn't chasing around looking for a spiritual teacher as a lot of the students were doing.
My friend Vickie and I had gone out to dinner at a little Mexican restaurant we both enjoyed. She began telling me about her experience at a spiritual conference that Elizabeth Clare Prophet had just conducted close to Colorado Springs. She had scarcely said a few dozen words when I lit up inside. I began to feel exhilarating energy pouring through me. And I started asking questions a mile a minute.
I don't remember the exact details of our conversation, but I knew I had to meet Mrs. Prophet and learn more about these teachings from the ascended masters, whoever they turned out to be.
It was an instantaneous recognition of my next step on the spiritual path and a fitting prologue for the next thirty years of my life.
As I walked toward the front door of La Tourelle and looked up at the window again, the woman was no longer there. An attractive young woman, Marla, welcomed me at the front door. I was impressed with her graciousness and the beauty and vibration in this lovely place.
After an uplifting presentation, during which I have to admit I was enjoying the vibes more than taking in specific information, Mrs. Prophet greeted me with a big smile. And I had a humorous experience with my spiritual teacher-to-be.
She walked over to a table on which sat a huge pile of posters and proceeded to offer a large stack to me. "I would be so pleased if you would put these posters up for me in Boulder," she suggested cheerfully. I was a bit surprised but found myself saying, "Of course, I'll be happy to." And that was the beginning of my relationship with Elizabeth Clare Prophet.
Yes, indeed, I put up the posters around Boulder and attended the event they were advertising. In those days posters were everywhere in Boulder because in addition to business announcements and university happenings, many young people were seeking enlightenment. And posters were the way most of us found out about interesting events.
Over the years since then I have occasionally remembered our first encounter and chuckled over it. Elizabeth Clare Prophet became my mentor on the quest for enlightenment and we have been friends and colleagues for many years. She has been a guiding spiritual light and I have had the privilege of sharing my expertise in psychology with her.
Mark and Elizabeth raised children of their own, and Elizabeth has always had a special interest in family and children. She has loved spending time with young people, answering their questions and supporting their projects. She has been a mentor to many who are moving on successfully in their adult lives.
Each of us can strive to become a mentor to the next generation. To do so we need to accent our spiritual strengths, continue a process of self-transformation, and focus on thinking out of the box. We can thereby make a worthy contribution to society and offer a legacy of love to our children and youth.
Mrs. Prophet introduced me to the ascended masters, whom I came to know as advanced souls who lived on Earth, achieved enlightenment and made it home to the heaven-world. Her esoteric perspective combined nicely with my transpersonal psychology approach, which has been vastly enriched since I walked through the door of La Tourelle so many years ago. She has been a loving champion of my soul.
Kahlil Gibran "On Children"
Many people love the writings of Kahlil Gibran. In his stirring poem "On Children," the understanding of the role of parent strikes a chord in our hearts. Gibran's profound message can be our inspiration as we guide young people to fulfill their higher destiny.
You are the bows from which your
children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path
of the infinite, and He bends you with His
might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's
be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.
Buy A Spiritual Approach to Parenting: Secrets of Raising the 21st Century Child at your local bookstore. To order direct, call 1-800-245-5445 or 406-848-9500 outside the U.S.A.