Raising A Child of God
A Sharing by Joseph Shore
Inevitably as one begins to question his conditioning, there comes a time when one begins to reverence one’s inner child. As we look at the mistaken beliefs the child learned in his conditioning, and observe the impact of those false beliefs in the unfolding of his life, we come to love the child in a way that he did not receive in time. We have all been conditioned. What parents have raised a child of God who knows himself as God created him? Mary raised Jesus that way, and as a single parent. Who else has raised a child of God, free of conditioning?
I have been so moved by watching Tara Singh teach on this subject. There is a video and a book you can get from The Joseph Plan Foundation of Tara Singh teaching his ACIM students about Raising a Child of God. Now as adults searching for inner peace we begin to question our conditioning and invariably we come to our inner child. There is the innocent child of heaven who brought the light to give to the world, and knows only Heavenly things, Love, Truth, Eternal Laws. And then there is the adapted child who has been conditioned by his parents with the ways of the earth: fear, suspicion, survival, conflict, limitation, lack. When we come into contact with our adapted child we weep for the innocence of heaven that we lost. We weep for the child who came only to give love and received the teaching of pain and fear in its place. I want to emphasize that the child comes straight from heaven and knows only to give. Were the parents wise, they would have prepared themselves to receive from the child, rather than teach. The child would bring an inner Light. Would the parents receive it? The child would bring innocence. Would the parents receive it? The child brings the memory of heaven. Would the parents receive it? Among wolves there is a greater awareness than that among humans. In a wolf family, the cub is the dominant member. Everything is done for the cub. The mother and father serve the cub’s needs. This is so basic in nature. How did we humans lose it?
In the Garden of Eden it was a talking snake that distracted Adam and Eve from perfection. The snake has been talking ever since in us through the process of thought and conditioning. WE are the talking snakes to our children. WE want them to eat of the tree of the “knowledge” of good and evil. That would be our conditioning, our perceptions, our limitations, our fears and prejudices. It is not knowledge at all. It is just our opinions that we have projected. And we are perfectly content to rob the child of his innocence, his perfection, and leave him with his nakedness before a meaningless world. We are content to receive nothing of the child’s heavenly birth right but make him a clone of our own conditioning! Is this not the heart of cruelty? Is this not a violation? Is this not an attack on God? Is it any wonder that we do not raise a child of God when we attack God in our child rearing?
As a sharing, I want to look at a tiny part of my childhood. It will look somewhat different from yours but the fact of conditioning will be the same. I want to tell you this story as through the memory of my inner child who experienced it at four years old, so I am going to use the literary device of a screen play, a memory play. The characters are Warren and Beulah Shore, Judy (7 years old), me (Joe-Boy, 4 years old) and George and Lena Ritchie, my maternal grandparents. The setting is the countryside of Missouri.
The scene dissolves into the past. Joe-Boy is 4 years old. He is in the barn. The family cat has just had kittens. Joe watches them nurse. His mother calls from the house.)
Mother: Joe-Boy come in and get ready for church. (Joe comes inside and dresses in a little white shirt and dark trousers).
Father: (Warren Shore is 6 feet tall and 220 lbs. He works on the line at a gun powder manufacturing plant. He is abusive to the family) “Joe-Boy come here. Let me put your tie on.” (Joe comes to him and he clips on a little tie.)
Mother: Judy? You ready? We’re gonna be late for Sunday School. (The family rushes into a 4 door Buick and drives 5 miles to The First Baptist Church of Carthage, Missouri. They park on a side street, exit the car and separate. Warren goes upstairs to the adult class. Judy goes to the 7 year old class and Beulah (Mother) takes Joe-Boy to the 4 year old class where an elderly woman named Mrs. Brown is telling Bible stories to 4 and 5 year old children.)
Mrs. Brown: Joe, can you tell the class where the Wise Men found the baby Jesus?
Joe: Yes M’am, They found him in a barn, maybe a little smaller than the one we got. (Other children titter. The children divide up into smaller classes. Beulah goes with Joe. The teacher reads Bible verses to the children. At the end of class Beulah takes Joe-Boy to the nursery. Children 4 and younger did not go to big church. They stayed in the nursery in the basement of the church while the grown-ups were upstairs.)
Beulah: Here he is Tracy. You be good Joe-Boy and do what Tracy tells you. (Joe nods). Joe
looks at Bible picture books until Beulah comes for him.)
Beulah: Well Tracy was he a good boy for you?
Tracy: He sure was Mrs. Shore. He’s a good boy. I’ll sit with him anytime? (Beulah and Joe leave and go back to the car where they are joined by Warren and Judy)
Warren: What’s for dinner Beulah? (starting the car and backing out)
Beulah: I have some chicken in the frig that I fried yesterday and we’ve got potato salad and slaw.
Warren: Let’s go get it. How about that Joe-Boy?
Joe: Ok (They drive the five miles back to the house in the country) Mother why don’t grandmother and grandpa go with us to church?
Beulah: They like their little church out in the country. They think ours is too big.
(The family exits the car, goes inside and each person changes clothes from their Sunday go-to-meetin’ clothes to everyday clothes. Beulah gets the food on the table. Judy sets the table. They sit down to eat.)
Beulah: Judy do you want to say the blessing?
Judy (bashfully) Ok. Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for our daily meat. In Jesus’ name Amen.
Warren: Let’s eat.
Beulah: Warren what are we going to do with all those kittens? We cain’t keep um.
Warren: (chuckles between big bites, speaks with his mouth full) You just leave that to me Beulah.
Joe: Mother why can’t we keep the kittens?
Beulah: Because Joe-Boy, We are poor. We don’t have the food to feed all those kittens. They grow up to be big cats and we cain’t feed all them. (Joe is silent. The family finishes dinner.)
Beulah: Judy you wash the dishes and let Joe-Boy dry.
Joe: (speaks loudly for him) Oh Mother I want to go outside and play with the kittens
Warren: You do what your Mother says Joe-Boy or I’ll box you. Anyway, you need to take a nap. Later on we’re all goin’ to go out for a drive. (Judy and Beulah clear the table and begin to wash the dishes. Beulah hands Joe a towel)
Joe: Mother can I go down to see grandmother and grandpa? (Their house was about 150 feet away connected by the garden)
Beulah: We’ll see about that later. You go take your nap. (Joe goes to his room and tries to nap but can’t. In a few minutes Warren calls out.)
Warren: Everybody get to the car. We’re all gonna take a Sunday drive. (Joe and Judy get into the back seat. Warren goes into the barn and brings out a burlap bag, opens the back car door and hands the bag to Joe-Boy) Here son, hold on to this bag for me. (Joe can tell the bag is full of kittens because they are meowing. Joe looks in the bag.)
Joe: Are we going to give the kittens away Daddy?
Warren: (chuckles under his breath) You just hold the bag. (They drive around the countryside for about 30 minutes before coming to a bridge over Dry Fork River. It is an old bridge with only one lane going over it. Warren drives the car to the middle of the bridge and turns over his shoulder to speak to Joe.) Hand me that bag son. I’ll show you how we get rid of cats around here. (Joe is rigid with fear. He hands the bag to Warren. The kittens are crying. Warren rolls down his window, suspends the bag out of the window and over the river. Warren drops the bag into the river and laughs. Beulah and Judy look to the front, motionless as though nothing is happening. They drive back home without saying a word. When the car stops in the drive way, Joe runs out of the car down through the garden to grandmother and grandpa Ritchie’s house. He runs inside the house.)
Joe: Grandmother, grandmother, he killed the kittens. He dropped them in the river. He drowned them. They’re all dead. He killed them. (Joe begins to cry)
Grandmother Ritchie: Who killed them?
Joe-Boy (in tears): Daddy did.
Grandmother Ritchie: That Warren. Come with me. We’ll tell grandpa. (They go out into the garden where George Ritchie is looking after his tomato plants. Lena Ritchie whispers into George’s ear)
Grandpa Ritchie: Joe-Boy, you walk with me through the garden. We’ll check on everything. (Lena Ritchie walks on up to the Shore house to speak to Beulah) Looky here Joe, everything is alive in the garden: the peas, the beans, the corn, the tomatoes. There’s life flowing through everything and through us. Some folks don’t understand about life. Come here Ginger. (He calls to his old dog) Now you take old Ginger here. He’s been with me a long time. He’s pert near as old as I am. We’re all part of the life of the garden Joe. (Joe begins to cry again)
Joe: But my kittens are gone. He killed them. (Grandpa Ritchie begins to sing a little song)
Grandpa Ritchie: Come on back with me to get my Jews harp. We’ll play a little tune. (They walk back together to the back porch and Grandpa Ritchie pulls out his Jews harp from a drawer. They sit down on the porch steps and he plays and sings.) You wanna stay over with us tonight? I’ll call Beulah and tell her. (Joe nods yes)
Look at all the conditioning thrown at little Joe. First, there is no respect for life. There is no sense of reverence for life. There is just stark cruelty being portrayed as “normal.” The drowning of the kittens is an act of sadism, especially since it was done in the context of a family outing. The discerning reader will see that there were antecedents to this cruelty. Warren was an abusive father. He projects anger and uses manipulation and physical threat to get his way. He is not at all concerned about physically hitting a four year old boy in the face! (“I’ll box you!”) The other members of the Shore family, Beulah and Judy are in denial. They have been successfully manipulated and they hold secrets about Warren’s abusiveness. Warren’s cruelty represents “wrong-minded perception,” while the grandparents represent “right-minded perception.” They try to offer an alternative world-view to little Joe. The two sets together are the battle ground now in little Joe’s mind. He sees his father as a monster and experiences fear. He does not know whether Warren might put him in a bag one day and throw him into the river. The child has lost his awareness of his light from heaven and has nothing to give. He just receives punishment, manipulation, sadism, limitation, lack, and despair, all in the name of child rearing! As good as it might make us feel to hate Warren, he too is lost. He was just handing down what he thought he received and we could trace this back and back and back. But look how grandpa Ritchie responds. He does not react! Instead he teaches Joe the truth about life! Do you see the wisdom of that? He does not say, “Joe-Boy, I’m going to go up there and beat the tar out of Warren.” If he had said that, who among you, dear readers, would not have cheered him on? “Way to go George. Beat the dickens out of Warren!” Instead he does the wise thing. He doesn’t react. He just tells the Truth, simply, beautifully, with art and love, and so he offers Joe-Boy a different reality. The kittens are gone, but Grandpa Ritchie shows Joe the Truth that remains, which is the one-ness of life. (“We are all part of the life of the garden, Joe.”) What wisdom is this coming from a simple farmer? So Grandpa Ritchie offers little Joe-boy a gift from heaven. Thank God for grandparents like George and Lena Ritchie.
In this story, little Joe has long since been conditioned to forget Heaven and the gift he brought with him to this planet. Children will remember if you don’t beat it out of them and they will give you exquisite descriptions of heaven. When my daughter was a toddler she described the process of her coming to earth. “There I was, minding my own business in heaven, and this angel comes up to me and says, ‘this couple is going to have a baby. Would you like to be it?’ So I said ‘sure.’ Then I jumped and the next thing I knew I was a baby and these people were saying, ‘Oh look at the baby.”
When my son was about five I heard him talking to his sister. “Tell me again about heaven. I am beginning to forget.”
What keeps us from raising children of God rather than conditioned children of the earth? Someone must break the cycle of abuse. Someone must see clearly. Someone must reverence life. Someone must see the light of the child and cherish it