A friend of mine requested me to write a review on Dr Shefali Tsabary’s “The Awakened Family” for MIMS a few months ago. Here it is, am sharing with all of you…
I remember listening to Dr Shefali Tsabary on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast sometime in summer of this year. You will read this striking line in the book and hear it often in her podcasts:
“We awaken when we become aware of who we truly are.”
And this particularly caught my attention because I feel that I am in the midst of mid-life self-discovery, and authenticity is such a big thing for me (having been mostly a follower for nearly 40 years of my life!).
Dr Shefali’s book “The Awakened Family” zeroes in on three things:
(1) the seven parenting myths
(2) that children are born authentic and completely aware
(3) that, as parents, we are broken and incomplete.
And, it aims to help parents reclaim their lost self.
The book shifts the focus of the parent from the child to his/herself. The hypothesis presented is that the parent needs to look inward and work on him/herself first to be able to be a better parent.
I like that the book touches on the spiritual aspect as well: that we are all one in the universe. And that children are just like us (human beings), only smaller. And the fact that they are, doesn’t make them LESS than what we are. They have been born authentic, aware and knowing.
But because we have been conditioned with how things “should be”, we have neglected to hear our children’s spirits. As parents, we think “we know better” thus we control our kids. And we do this because we are coming from fear — fear that they will be hurt, fear that we will be judged, fear that they will fail, etc.
Dr Shefali writes things that will jar her readers to the core.
“They don’t understand that Mommy gets mad because she feels inadequate, which is the result of not being in touch with her essential self, or that Daddy shames them because he feels insecure in his work life. All they see is anger directed at them, which causes them to believe it’s because of them. Neither do they understand why their mommy or daddy never spends time with them or plays with them. They see only their parents’ distraction or disinterest, and as a result they believe they are either not likeable or not fun enough.”
“Since a child is incapable of forming an accurate assessment of a parent’s emotions, the child unconsciously absorbs these emotions. Slowly, these emotions replace authentic feelings and become a blueprint for how the child will cope with life as they grow up. Similar to how cultural myths affect our thinking, this family emotional blueprint supplants our original one and begins to govern how we express ourselves. Unless we learn to decode it, we will automatically pass it on to our own children, burdening them without even realising we are doing so.”
I think that this book is for someone who is in the midst of doing inner work, and self-discovery. Someone who understands the importance of being present and who knows how to *pause* especially in crucial times when most people just react. Someone who is emotionally ready to be their children’s support (vs. control). Someone who accepts that there is still room to grow and change and is not afraid to face their shadow.
At mid-life, I am on a constant search for self-improvement. I know that whatever role I play, there is always wiggle room for more. This book will encourage you to look inward, to think, and, to contemplate on how you want to live your life moving forward. It opens your eyes to other points of view. Read it. Your children will thank you.
And in case you’re interested, the following are the myths she enumerated:
Myth #1 Parenting Is About the Child
Myth #2 A Successful Child Is Ahead of the Curve
Myth #3 There Are Good Children and Bad Children
Myth #4 Good Parents Are Naturals
Myth #5 A Good Parent Is a Loving One
Myth #6 Parenting Is About Raising a Happy Child
Myth #7 Parents Need to Be in Control
 Excerpt From: Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. “The Awakened Family.”