Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Color Blindness.


My son CT is color blind. Looking back I realize how much of his life is actually centered on this theme. When he was three years old he often woke up in the middle of the night screaming because of nightmares. Many of the dreams were very vivid stories that came from a distant past. CT often talked about this little, black boy who he described in great length as if he was a close friend. This poor, black boy was beaten and eventually killed by the white man who enslaved his family.

“What is negro?” CT asked remembering how the older white man had yelled this word at this boy as he searched to find him hidden underneath the stair case of a big dusty, old house. With every new nightmare during that year between 2 and 3 years old, we (my husband and I) cringed at the details that the dreaming revealed, this horrible story about how humanity can be horrible towards humanity.

At first these amazing yet tragic events baffled us. We must have asked ourselves countless questions:

· How could he be dreaming stories that he had never heard about? Stories that weren’t relevant to his life. After all, we were a typical (so to speak) white Anglophone family who lived in a predominant white suburban city.
· Were the nightmares traumatizing our son?
· It was one thing to prepare him for life but this touched a dimension of life that was above and beyond anyone’s basic belief system. How were we supposed to help him protect himself in his dreams?

It’s not like my husband and I shared information about racism with our kids this early on in childhood. Plus, history was certainly not the first topic on our mind at that point in time. Believe me when I say that after this – potty training, biking and teaching them the alphabet were no longer considered as challenges. Here was CT and his little sister because she didn’t breath without her older brother; two toddlers who were suddenly dealing with issues that most adults still struggled with. After some in depth research on the topic there was no other way to explain these dream experiences than by believing in ancestral stories or what most call past lives.

Being shamanic it wasn’t too much of a stretch to believe that my children were connected to the memory of our Planet and that these memories surfaced during childhood development.

I wondered for a long time if CT had once been this child and I also wondered how much more we could all learn from ancestral stories if we allowed ourselves the space and time to understand them. After CT’s third birthday, the past suddenly disappeared and he moved on to yet another aspect of living life without color recognition. His sister KT though, started dreaming about her life’s theme and the way it connected to the past and its memories. Two children and at the same age they had lived the same ancestral experience which quite magically revealed them as unique people with a unique life story.

For over a decade I’ve come to collect numerous stories about children between the age of 2 and 3 who struggled through the same kind of experience. Parents ask me all the time:

· How do we stop the dreams or the nightmares?
· How do we explain the stories and the reactions we all have to them?
· How do we even make sense of these things?

“The same way we make sense of everything else in life,” I usually reply. Not too long ago I went to a doctor’s appointment where I watched a woman and her child basically entertain a crowd of people in the waiting room.
“Is it bad to write with crayons on the wall?” asked the mother to her 24 month old child.
“Yeeeeesssssssssssssss,” cried out the daughter with exaggerated enthusiasm. Everyone giggled in the room and both the mother and child seemed pleased with the reaction. They even probed for the individuals who may find it annoying. The woman apologized for her child to those who didn’t quite find it adorable and continued to ask questions in a somewhat hush tone. Eventually she seduced the woman with the new born baby and the grumpy old man who didn’t quite ear very well. By half an hour the dynamite duo had everyone laughing and commenting on the show.
“She’s adorable,” whispered the grand-mother in the crowd.
“She’s amazing for a two year old,” commented the couple who couldn’t control their son.
“She’s going to grow up to be a model citizen,” said the secretary on a break.
The mother seemed pleased with the comments and until she was called in by the doctor she continued to test her daughter on social rules. Yes and no the toddler understood what was expected of her from the adults in her world.

I found it sad.

When the mother stopped questioning the child to listen to the names that were called over the intercom by the different physicians in the clinic, the child became impatient and whined as well as begged her mother to continue with the questions. When the mother got tired of inventing new questions, perfect strangers in the room took over. When the child hesitated in replying to strangers, the mother informed the toddler that she wasn’t being polite. Soon the little girl was jumping hoops for everyone. One man told the mother: “She’ll have a future in show business one day. She’ll most definitely be rich.”

I couldn’t help but wonder about this child’s natural development. Was she having nightmares? Was she living ancestral stories like others in her age bracket? Or was she so busy learning how to talk and learning about social rules that she wasn’t at all connected to the dreaming anymore? How much of a responsibility does indoctrination have on the loss of our basic nature? Is our basic nature something we should protect? How many parents actually have the knowledge and know-how to protect their children’s basic nature?

If you don’t stop me I could spiral indefinitely with such questions and none of which we can ever answer for sure. In the end, I tried my best to center on my experience, my story and the experience and story of my children. If our story somehow connects to others like us then, we’ve contributed to the momentum of a sacred circle. We’ve done what Sacred Circle Tradition asks of us: We’ve brought forth another perspective and we’ve told our story with gratitude.

P.S. The picture at the top isn't a picture of my son, CT. It's actually a picture of his Father when he was little kid. I just thought I'd use imagery to show the power of a circle. Plus, in Sacred Circle tradition -- the first three moons (birth to 3 years old) are about a wisdom without words and without indoctrination. At this age - children speak with body language and imagery. Remember this when you're working and exploring your moons (inner children).

3 comments:

Michelle said...

I remember growing up hearing Children should be seen and not heard....I think I have lived my life to go against this lol....our world would be a better place if we did leave things up to the dreaming...and not become robots opportateing on what we think others expect of us...I have to work hard not to always jump to that ideal I like letting my kids decide things some of my best learning has been from them suggesting a different way to do things...I wonder what ancestral stories we are living...

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to think of children living ancestral stories...wow.As an adult living an ancestral story it is very intense. I wonder how many parents are able to understand how to support their kids throught this experience. I wouldn't.
I cans see around me how and understanding of social rules is emphasized. I have heard many parents including my self as an aunt tell a child what they did was rude. Can kids even be rude at 3,4,7 years old?

Dallal

Wapeyit Malsom said...

Dallal,

It all depends on how we define the word "rude." I can say that most of the time people called my children rude -- I felt they were just brutally honest!

Yet, I've taken the time to teach my kids to be kind and attentive to people's realities or personal stories. I wanted them to learn to choose when to speak rather than blurting out everything that pops to mind. They needed to get to a point where they could "walk a mile in anyone's shoes" before making a comment on their experience.

I think it is possible for children, teenagers as well as adults and elders to be rude. I would say that "rudeness" is when someone speaks his or her mind without considering for one moment the impact.

If you are aware of the impact than that sincerity can become a teaching if the other person is willing to receive it.

LISA