APPPAH Module 6 Essay on the Cultural Impacts in the
Prenatal and Perinatal Field
“How Consciousness and Support Lay the Groundwork for Peace and Love or How the Lack of Consciousness Lays the Foundation for Violent Culture” by Christianna Deichmann
If parents are conscious of how children grow and develop, and truly comprehend how parenting behaviors and actions predispose attachment styles in their child, then humanity has a chance to lay the groundwork for peace and love and displace violent cultures threaded throughout today’s civilization. Parenting styles and the environment in which a child is reared play key roles in determining a child’s ability to express empathy, compassion and a positive influence upon society. Cultivating a loving and supportive family environment fosters positive connections to society; while critical, discouraging habitats uphold an energetic field of frustration, self-doubt, and embitterment. A combination of both environments is far too often the reality for children in today’s world. In order to change the current state of affairs, parents must consciously raise their children using the power of positivity, accountability, nurturing guidance, connection, grace, and love. If a child’s experience is tainted with opposite emotional institutions, then his experience will be tarnished with anger, hate and violence.
In 1734, Alexander Pope coined the famous axiom, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” His phrase referenced how children’s moral values, behaviors and self-confidence are formed at a young age. Today’s research in neuroscience and pre and perinatal psychology shows the foundation of a child’s psyche is embodied between the ages of 0-3, which is why setting the stage for conscious parenting prior to birth is crucial if we are to succeed in obtaining a peaceful society. James Prescott, in “Origins of Love and Violence” refers to the Bible as he discusses the importance of how parents rear their children. He quotes Proverbs 23:13-14, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” Many religious groups use this very stanza along with a few more to encourage corporeal punishment:
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)
“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child. But the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
Conversely, Prescott interprets these stanzas in a positive light, and demonstrates corporeal punishment and physical discipline do more harm than good. Conscious parenting means to be aware and attentive to the cause and affect of your actions. If parents look past the literal meaning of these verses and analyze the historical meaning of the rod, then they would better understand the instructions being provided are describing what type of environment is needed for a child to flourish and grow. The instructions indicate love, positive encouragement, and benevolent accountability are key ingredients to a recipe for peace.
By understanding the etymology of the word rod, parents can deduce that a rod is not a beating stick, but rather a symbol of divine guidance and care. Little distinction can be drawn between the Hebrew words used for “rod” and “staff.” The Bible showcases four different forms of rod and staff with the words Maqqel, Matteh, Shebhet, and Rhabdos. Genesis 30:37 references Maqqel as the twigs of poplar put by Jacob before his sheep, and it appears again in Jeremiah 1:11 as the “rod of an almond-tree.” Matteh is used of a rod in the hand, as the “rods” of Moses and of Aaron in Exodus 4:2 and 7:9. Shebhet and Matteh are interchangeably used of the rod for correction in Exodus 21:20; 2 Samuel 7:14; Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 13:24; and Isaiah 10:5. Shebhet is the shepherd’s rod used for guiding the sheep when they have been separated from the flock and need rescuing or protection. Psalms 23:4 demonstrates this figurative reference is about divine guidance and care with the stanza, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” Conventional wisdom has encouraged spanking, shaming, and separating children in order to get their attention. We should challenge today’s culture by asking parents to consider the effects of spanking on their relationship with their children. Spanking is a means of violence and it disconnects a child from the tools of love and positive accountability.
Jean Leidloff speaks of the Continuum Concept and how civilized cultures have removed themselves from the natural evolutionary process that infants and children experienced over the last few thousand years. Today’s modern society is adversarial to children. She states children are social and they want to be in relationship. Evolutionary processes have historically conditioned children to be in continuous relationships with their primary caregivers, not to be separated and treated as incompetent heathens that are innately self-centered and inherently bad. Leidloff’s Continuum Concept demonstrates that spanking a child or separating yourself from your child through means of shaming, physical punishment, or isolation undermines a child’s natural ability to be loving and peaceful in nature. Ultimately, adversarial parenting distorts their feelings, concepts and belief systems. She draws these conclusions from time spent with indigenous tribes who are not adversarial in the rearing of their children (Leidloff, Jane). On the contrary, the tribal people include the children in all aspects of their culture, and they encouraged independence while simultaneously preserving connection in the social, physical, emotional and spiritual realms.
Lisa Reagan, editor and co-founder of Kindred World, reports on cultural imperatives in the Western world that emphasize a technology-centric, financial-driven, adversarial society. These cultural imperatives impact biological imperatives. Western society gives very little support to nascent families by not providing enough family leave time, or financial support to help parents pay for continuing education, or time away from home during the first few months of having a baby. When parents do not have enough support, then stress becomes a factor in child rearing, which in turn introduces disharmony and disconnection in the family field. In her interview, Lisa lists extensive resources that demonstrate how conscious parenting can transform the world in which we live. These resources include documents released by the Institute of Noetic Sciences and books such as The Secret Life of the Unborn Child by Thomas Verny, and Parenting for a Peaceful World by Robin Grille. Ultimately, everything a parent does or thinks from pre-conception to the first few years of their child’s life impacts their child’s development. Thomas Verny stated, “Womb ecology becomes world ecology” (Reagan, 2016). Nothing can be closer to the truth.
A paradigm shift in consciousness needs to occur in order change the current culture impacts on child development. In order to support new human life that will sustain life-long health, peace, and love, we have to change our daily decisions, public health policy, and our perception of the prenate and pregnancy. The first step is raising awareness. The second step is building an army of healers, practitioners, and pre and perinatal informed professionals who can repair the trauma our culture imperatives have inflicted upon society.
Prescott, James. Origins of Love and Violence. Touch the Future. https://ttfuture.org/apppah-classroom/module-6-cultural-impacts
Leidloff, Jane. The Continuum Concept. Touch the Future. https://ttfuture.org/apppah-classroom/module-6-cultural-impacts
Reagan, Lisa. “The New Story of Childhood, Parenthood and the Human Family.” Kindred Magazine. August 6, 2016 https://www.kindredmedia.org/2016/08/new-story-childhood-parenthood-human-family-lecture-apppah-ppne-program/