"Don't make parenting an exception to what the Course in Miracles is teachings."
~ David Hoffmeister
David Hoffmeister addresses the topic of spiritual parenting during Kenneth Clifford's show, "Get Real - The End of Guilt". The big question I have as a parent these days is about “screen time” and how much time should we allow our kids on screens. It has caused a lot of arguments between their father and me and other parents and tears from my kids. A parent of one of my son’s friends even messaged me to say he saw my son’s game character on a video game after midnight and he expected me to punish him. This led me to question not whether there needs to be a limited screen time entirely, but "How much time should we allow?"
The world’s perception of parenting is that you cannot raise children without boundaries, without expectations. Without laying down rules.
During an episode of "Get Real" with Kenneth Clifford, David Hoffmeister dropped a bomb on parenting,
“You can follow guidance instead of rules and boundaries, presets. You can be 100% transparent. Instead of trying to 'play a drill sergeant,' and 'you play by my rules, or you get penalized', you know, 'no candy … no ice cream for you because you broke the rules.'"
When David made this statement the first thing that came to mind was about “screen time”. It is basically the only rule I have. David had said it is about being transparent and miracle minded, so I decided to try it and to talk to my kids about it.
Spiritual Parenting guided by the Holy Spirit
Before I talked with my kids I prayed first. I reminded myself that the content of the communication was not about screen time and that I do not know my own best interest or the children's.
Here is what A Course in Miracles tells us, "In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy. Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result. What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong. It is inevitable, then, that you will not serve your own best interests. If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are. But in the presence of your conviction that you do know what they are, you cannot learn.” ~ ACIM L.24
I started out by talking to my children about what David said. My 13 year old’s first reaction was a big marvel comic villain smile. But by the end of our discussion, he was the one to say, “No I don’t think you should remove the time limits from the wifi. I get caught up in the games, don’t realize the time and don’t want to be tired at school all day.”
He also said he didn’t agree with David and there have to be rules. I thought, "Should I explain this to them?", "No. Demonstration is the best lesson and I need the demonstration too."
After the conversation, it came to me that I didn't even know what a rule is.
I thought there were only two choices, 1- have a rule to limit screen time or 2-remove the screen time. Little did I know until now, this was a limited belief. The answer was, "I can have screen limits but they are not a rule. This all was done through peaceful agreement coming out of a peaceful discussion and a peaceful mind, all spirit inspired!"
Unwinding from limiting beliefs
Later, I took this situation deeper into my mind. I was shown that there is no one-answer-fits-all response to "Should I limit my kids' screen time?" The question itself has so many false assumptions. In truth, it makes no sense. The question assumes for example, "Screen time is bad!" It assumes, "Screens exist!" It assumes, "Parents exist and are responsible for children!" It assumes, "I need a decision made in advance (in the past) to apply in the future instead of being present to the moment."
We do not know anything about what is going on so even the questions are misguided. The answer is to focus on being at peace and being miracle minded at all times. When a situation or question arises, stop and pray before an action, pray to remind oneself of true goal—Peace and Truth. It came to me that through this I remind myself that I do not know what anything means so I could be open to hearing “your children” as if for the first time.
Then listen. Listen for guidance. Listen to what those around you are saying, what shows up on the Internet or something that is being said in a movie. “Listen” to your feelings. Answers are being given all around you. Any upset, fears or “I know thoughts” that come can be observed and notice that they are not peaceful so you don’t want them. Some of those thoughts may even come out of your child’s mouth or their “other parent.” If Peace is your goal, you will see that as a message from Spirit showing you it is in YOUR mind. The questions I can ask is,
"Can you let it go? Can you choose peace instead? Do you really know what is best in this situation? Do you want to make this decision based on fear of what may happen or based on peace?"
A Course in Miracles is not about presets, but to use guidance in any situation on how to think or behave. So the solution was given, "Do only this; put peace as your goal in everything with no exception." We have the option to listen to guidance from the one who knows, who will tell us what to think or do if we want to hear it.
Present moment spiritual parenting
Well, you can raise children, intuitively, with real intuitive guidance, by having peace as your only goal out front. And for anybody who says it's impossible. I say, Well, you haven't tried it," ~ David Hoffmeister in "Get Real" # The End of Guilt.
Twice since my conversation with the kids, when they asked for “more screen time,” I didn’t even have to think about it, I only need to be present and listen to the question and feel the answer. I am already more present when they ask because I no longer have a predetermined response of “no” that I fear will cause an argument or resistance. In this case, I felt it was ok and said, “Yes, you can play your video game longer.” Maybe next time I will say no. I can’t know now. I will only know in each moment. By the way, I can also answer, “I don’t know, I will get back to you.” To give me time to feel/hear/know if the answer isn’t clear yet.
Transcription of David Hoffmeister's talk on spiritual parenting during the show
Jesus is saying, "I told you there's only one law. It's the law of love. And you've got amnesia. You forgot the one law that I created. It's not too difficult: one. One. I gave you one law." Real intuitive guidance by having these (Love, Peace, Truth) as your only goal out front. And for anybody who says it's impossible. I say, well, you haven't tried it.
It's great, because Truth has no exception.
I remember over the years, I would travel around the world, I would do these gatherings. And then I would start talking about what we were talking about. Somebody would raise their hand and say, “yeah, yeah.” They said, “Well, you know, we have to be practical.” I said, “Yeah, this is really practical.” Well, let me give you an example.
They would say, “You cannot raise children without boundaries without expectations. Without laying down rules, you can not raise children that way.” And I would … share some examples of miracle experiences I've had … parents have invited me in, they go on vacation, they leave me in the house for a week with the kids. And then they're kind of shocked when they come back at the happiness.
... it's because you can, and you always can do everything by putting the goal out front for peace.
You can follow guidance, instead of rules and boundaries, presets.
You can be 100% transparent instead of trying to "play a drill sergeant", and, "You play by my rules, or you get penalized", you know, "No, no candy … no ice cream for you because you broke the rules".
Because you can do anything. If you're inspired by God.
There's one line in the Bible that said, "If God is with us, who can be against us", and really the interpretation, I would say is, "If you're in your purpose. If you really have peace of mind as your goal. There are no difficult circumstances or situations, children or no children, war zone or no war zone.
Thank you for reading about my most recent insights around this topic of "spiritual parenting", rules and screentime for children. I'd love to hear what your experiences have been with this. Feel free to write to me below in the comment section.