Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Parent's Tao Te Ching

So I stumbled upon a book in a used book store called "The Parent's Tao Te Ching" by William Martin and thought I would pick it up and read it and then perhaps post my critique of some of the passages, or any thoughts that stemmed from my thought process while reading the book. My intention is to read a passage a day, but I'm a flexible person so I'm making no commitments. :) Sometimes if I'm too sleep-deprived, I'm not up to thinking deeply about anything. Also, if I read something and have nothing to say about it, I won't post it. No reason to, really, unless I feel compelled to post it without commentary anyway. :P (Of note: I'm not going to post the whole book, obviously, so if you like what you read, go buy the book.)

This is how the book begins...

"You can speak to your children of life,
but your words are not life itself.
You can show them what you see,
but your showing and their seeing
are forever different things.

You cannot speak to them of Divinity Itself.
But you can share with them
the millions of manifestations of this Reality
arrayed before them every moment.
Since these manifestations have their origin in Tao,
the visible will reveal the invisible to them."

For me, this portrays the wonderful revelation that kids learn by actions more than by listening to the spoken word. Personally, I could never have learned martial arts by verbal instruction alone. It's something that has to be worked through physically, observed, pondered, modified, and practiced over and over and over (without thinking about it too much!) in order to be effective and natural.
In the same way, I can speak about my personal experiences and hope someone gleans some bit of insight for them, or I can inspire them to go seek their own personal experiences. Which is more valuable? If I'm lucky I can do both, but I would place more value on inspiring others to seek their own truths than telling them what MY truths are. MY truths are valuable to me and, probably, only to me... but it is the seeking, the searching, the experience that makes those truths a reality. That's why I will never teach my son that I have all the answers or even that he can only find the answers in this book or that society or this priest or this religion. He has to look for his own manifestation of Tao (or Spirit, God, Truth, whatever you want to call it) in the world around him.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post!!

    I would definitely check out the book if I were a new mom. Wish I had read it before my kids were teens.

    But still, the opening lines are priceless for "parenting" teens too (though it's more observation and provision than guidance of any kind at this point).

    Thanks for posting on my blog so I could be led to yours! =)