by Daphne Dawn
When discussing psychedelic parenting with friends and family, it is handy to have thought the concept through and have a ready Top-5 list. The following is for your consideration, meditation, and comment.
As an engaged pursuer of Truth, I held many of these values dear before I came to psychedelics. After all, being open to alternate states and identifying oneself as a seeker is what leads many to try them the first time. Psychedelics expand these ideas, working to embed them on one’s very being, so that they become ideals to which we aspire. So while most people will agree this is a good list, they are especially cherished by those of us in the psychedelic know. It’s crucial to note, too, that these values are expressed to different degrees, depending on the age of the child. Subsequent discussion is always to be done in a manner appropriate to the developmental readiness of the child.
Spiritual Growth and Openness: Making this a prime value in our house, we encourage prayer and meditation. We take children to worship services as a family, have them attend Sunday school, and then ask them about their experiences. We till the field, so to speak, plant the seeds, and wait to see which seeds grow best in their unique make-up. I attend a Catholic church, but maybe they will research Buddhism, or even consider nihilism. I will try my best to help them hone their compass to find Truth in their own way, on their own path, in their own time.
Conscious Living: My house differs in a lot of little ways from the one in which I came of age.
We participate in the city’s recycling program, take shopping bags with us to the grocery store, occasionally do the 25 minute walk to school to save gas and limit our carbon footprint. These things are progressive for me, but just part of the background for my kids. We want our kids to take it for granted that we all have responsibility for our world and our brothers and sisters everywhere. There are always areas that we need to work on, like using less water and having a well-organized shopping list to minimize extra trips to the grocery store. Like our Catholic friends say, in this life, we are never done growing, but in the process of “constant conversion.” We will keep trying to speak better, live better, and be better stewards of the earth; continuously moving toward union with the Divine. Conscious Living incorporates lots of important values, including environmental conservation, empathy, compassion, and charity. Other ways to promote this value could be: including children in acts of charity (helping with the grocery bag for the food pantry, for example), counting the family’s blessings, and carrying reusable water bottles when away from home.
Infinite Curiosity: If we are on a constant journey in/toward the sacred, questions are inevitable and really, really important! Sacred medicines ask us to probe our beliefs, inquiring our way through the multiple layers of reality, finding nuggets of Truth along the way. We can promote this drive by introducing our kids to scientific concepts and Socratic Inquiry. And we always need to be ready to meet those questions with honest answers appropriate to their developmental level and readiness (see #4).
Radical Honesty: Truth isn’t always easy to give to kids. My husband and I tried to resist the “Santa” lie for a few years. The first 2 Christmases we had with child weren’t so bad—our son wasn’t in daycare, so we avoided Santa by not talking about him. But then there soon became too many cultural references to explain away without blatantly saying that all those other adults were LYING! Grandmas—lying! Commercials (no TV commercials at our house, but seen at relatives’ houses)—lying! Even numerous men in the mall and in front of stores, dressed up in red and white, and lying! I’m sure this example will spur debate, and all families will address this according to their unique approaches. But the point I’m making here is that we fight constantly with the misinformation that culture throws our way. When it comes to psychedelic substances, there are some pretty fierce voices trying to form our children’s beliefs.
This is where we take a stand and break from the norm. Children need to be told the dangers of anything they might encounter, but this needs to be approached with information, not blanket warnings demonizing anything that can be misused (or used incorrectly without experienced guidance). If we follow up on valuing Infinite Curiosity, we offer honest answers to all of the questions that are posed to us parents, being careful not to overwhelm or give more information than the child can process. We do this by answering the question asked without introducing multiple new concepts, or giving answers that are too complex for their current understanding. Children may not be ready for abstract-thought until around 14, but as parents, we are charged with knowing our children intimately enough to assess their readiness for many thing. Honesty now builds trust for later…
Authentic Expression: The first half of life is all about learning the rules of the world and discovering our places in it. We develop our “voice,” and have opportunities for speaking our truths or letting them hibernate. How many people go through adolescence feeling that if anyone truly knew them, they wouldn’t be loved? Emboldening children toward creativity and authentic expressions of self validates them and helps cement confidence that will help them on later journeys.
Of course, there are other values that will be shared by psychedelic families. Humility is incredibly important, especially to those blessed with home and family, privilege and intelligence. Education (both that which comes from school and from life) is seen as its own journey, complimentary to spiritual development. And finally, the significance of diversity is communicated through the kaleidoscopic lens of psychedelics—we see inherent value in the presence and perspectives of all kinds of people, ideas, and religious forms. We know that we are all Brothers and Sisters and can experience a greater richness in life when we seek out interesting people who challenge us to think more deeply. I am thankful to see the variety of skin colors and religious beliefs on my street and in my children’s schools.
Please let these ideas percolate and take them to heart. We are given so much grace through parenting, and so many opportunities for growing as spiritual beings. There are so many opportunities to make the difference in our children which will in turn give them the tools to make a difference in a million other lives. Cultures are transformed when aware people no longer worry what might happen when they share their values with the larger world, when they are no longer afraid of the spectre of Child Protective Services simply because they drink plants that make them love each other better.