Thursday, March 4, 2021

Helping our children to balance the outer compass with the inner compass

In parenting counseling work, it’s usual to observe parents expecting their children to follow the rules and values of the family and society, and ultimately follow the “outer compass”. This is what school may teach us as well. 

This is of course normal, expected, and helps with survival and adaptation. It can also help with external social harmony. 

The only problem is, many of these kids continue to be too focus on the “outer compass”, and forget to listen to their own “inner compass”. They may be inadvertently led to believe that this is the only way to be. This is what a “good or normal person” would do.  

It’s always a bit of a balance of course. Too much of one way over the other can lead to its own set of problems. 

So what is an alternative way of framing this for parents?

We train our kids to be “outer compass” in order to fine tune their “inner compass”, and once their inner compass is more fine tuned and adaptable, transition to more inner compass perhaps for more inner harmony. Continue to be “outer compass” of course, in order to ensure our inner compass is updated on a regular basis. 

It’s like updating our firmware for optimal functioning and adaptability.

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