Teaching Kids About Ego
When we think about teaching our kids about ego we think of teaching them to be humble and not to brag. We think about those kids who puff up their chests and say I am bigger or flip their heads and say I am better looking.
This expression of the ego is a child's exploration of the separate self. They are learning how to understand their differences and fine dance between feeling good enough and learning to get your worth from within.
Defining the Ego
When explaining the ego with an energy focus I love to use this analogy. The ego is like the daytime sky. Whey you look up, you think you can see all that there is to see in the blue or grey. You feel like you know what the skies are like every where and you can see everything that directly surrounds you. You feel large and important as an individual.
The spirit is like the night sky. It is hard to see where you are (especially without the use of street lights and strong moonlight) and what is around you. It is hard to take inventory of what is going on directly, but when you look up you can see a vast universe, shrinking you down into feeling small and insignificant as an individual and more connected to the infinite energies above you.
In short, the ego helps you find value in yourself by yourself and the spirit helps you feel connected and important as a group, society, species and essence.
Self-Worth and the Ego
The external focus on worth is a very tempting benchmark to focus on. Grades, achievements, and conquering the material world (like riding a bike) can be ways we measure our children as "good enough" for the world to accept them.
Helping them value their own accomplishments, regardless of what all their peers say, helps them find what truly feeds them, not just other's expectations of them.
This doesn't mean kids won't care about achievements. It simply shifts the focus on how they feel about their hard work and accomplishments and not just what is expected of them. I know this is hard to do, because we do have expectations of our kids. But teaching them to value themselves on a deeper level than what they do every day, will help sustain them in a bigger sense of accomplishment.
Learning to be Still
We are taught to find worth in all that we do. But the balance of ego and spirit can only happen when are balanced in accepting our worth in both the being state and the doing state. Helping your kids feel valuable, even when they are just there, being. Smile at them while they are sitting next to you or as they are settling into bed. Show them their being in your life is just as important as what they do.
Setting the example
Let's face it, kids learn to value what we teach them to. Even if we don't say it out loud, what we show them we care about through our own actions will influence their egos. Check in with what your values are on the material plane (i.e. wealth, body image, academics) and see if they are in balance with what makes you feel valuable internally. The gifts you offer naturally to the world are often not the ones we put an extreme amount of effort it. They can be, but if the effort is driven from expectations and not passion, you might be pushing in a direct that doesn't feed the spirit.
Another trap I see parents getting into is not seeing their children's accomplishments as important as their own. Keep in mind, everything that seems big to you in a day is how their experience their days as well. What you perceive to be a big deal, may not be to someone else. This is important to keep in mind when our kids are coming to us with their struggles and successes.