Conscious Parenting Guide 

From You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Copyright © 1989 Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Celestial Arts P.O. Box 7327 Berkely, California 94707



Conscious parenting involves keeping perspective – that we don’t let ourselves become so bogged down in the day-to-day task of raising our children that we neglect to focus on the larger picture. Part of our task is to see the spiritual in the mundane, to recognize the inner light in a child, or the ways in which a child’s drawing, for instance, might give us a picture of his emerging consciousness. Another part of our task is to let the events or experiences of the everyday world lead us to questions and experiences of the divine. As we come to see the relationship of microcosm to macrocosm, to “see a world in a grain of sand… and eternity in an hour,” we will find ourselves transformed in the process.


Certainly we all have shortcomings and failings; there wouldn’t be any growth if we didn’t. But we need to have patience and kindness toward our own development and be self-critical. Practicing kindness towards one’s own shortcomings is as important as developing patience with others.


Parenting takes a tremendous amount of energy. If you don’t keep your energy replenished, you become frazzled, harries, short-tempered and otherwise hard to be around. Especially while your children are young, you need to make sure that you get adequate sleep. It helps to have some kind of meditation or practice or prayer, even five minutes a day, that can help to keep you centered. Creative activities such as art, music, sculpture or dance are also unique in actually replenishing the kind of energy that children demand. Being in nature also does this. When you’re taking the baby out for a walk or taking your two-year-old to the park, cherish this time as something that can help renew your energy as well.

Taking parenting seriously can also remind you that what you are doing is important and worthwhile. Because women’s work is undervalued and underpaid in  our society, we can fall into the same trap of undervaluing it, unless we put intentionality into what we are doing. Peggy O’Mara McMahon, editor of mothering, states very clearly:


I believe, however that women will never be satisfied with a life that is an economic imitation of men’s lives. Women must find a new way, a way of the spirit, and they must insist on an economic reality that acknowledges the concerns of the heart. If women are satisfies only to find success as men have found it, in the traditional marketplace separate from the home, we will never create a better world. When women polarize over daycare and at-home mommies, they polarize over a male model of the separation of work and family that has not worked for men and is now not working for women. It doesn’t work not because we need more daycare centers, but because the current social reality we emulate has no heart.

We must seek broader solutions to the economics of family life, and we must be very careful not to fall into the trap of defining ourselves solely by the values of a society in transition.[1]


Viewing parenting as part of the path of love and service can also help you get through the rough spots. Having children certainly opens your heart and makes you stretch, through constantly having to consider the needs of another person who is dependant on you—and whom you must gradually release. Parenting can be a rich source of life experiences in the course of one’s development as a human being, if you use what is given to you for self-knowledge and transformation. In her article, “An Ethic of Parenting,” O’Mara McMahon describes the inner work of parenting as follows:


         In our society, we are not accustomed to the surrender and service required by the human infant. In order to sustain and ethic of parenting that honors the necessity of surrender and service, we will have to surround ourselves with the kind of support and information that will enable us to overcome the limitations….

Serve your child—for in serving your child, in trusting your child, you serve yourself and give yourself an opportunity to be reparented and reloved. The greatest kept secret of the world is the personal transformation inherent in developing and ethic of parenting that is truly in keeping with the nature of the child. Parenting with this type of ethic releases the full potential of the human being, a force greater than anything we have yet to see on this planet.[2]


[1] Peggy O’Mara McMahon. An Ethic of Parenting. Mothering, No. 47, Spring 1988, p. 6


[2] Ibid. p. 7

Conscious Parenting Guide 2009-15 

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