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Author’s note: Some names have been changed to protect individual’s privacy.

Dear Nadine,
My young spirited kid is empathic, describes colors around people and knows when the phone will ring. Is this intuition and should I encourage her to develop it? Marjorie, Minnetonka

Dear Marjorie,
As Caroline Joy Adams tells us, we should all “listen to our inner voice, for it is a deep and powerful source of wisdom, beauty and truth.”

When my son hit the age of 1, the paranormal hit, too! Bangs, raps and the sound of running feet would explode from his bedroom. Battery operated toys would leap into action. Of course, we’d run upstairs those early evenings, throw open our son’s door, to find him sound asleep, the room silent. I couldn’t say I was surprised. After all, the same thing happened to me as a baby.

While not every child is born a paranormal magnet, all children are born with the ability to tune into the world around them, perceiving information that on a physical and logical level they just shouldn’t know. There’s a good reason we say, “Kids say the darnedest things!” They do!

When 4-year-old Megan insisted that her mother Shelly take her to a garage sale, Shelly was bemused. “I like a bargain, but I never have time to visit garage sales. I couldn’t understand where Megan had gotten the idea from or what she thought she’d find.” Megan grew more insistent, so when Shelly spotted a garage sale a block from home, she caved.

“As we drove up, I gasped!” says Shelly. “A set of pristine, foldaway chairs were lined up outside, selling for five dollars a pop. They were a dream come true!” Shelly had considered teaching a woman’s empowerment workshop from home, but couldn’t afford the cost of a set of workshop chairs. “Thanks to Megan, I got my chairs and ran my first successful workshop eight weeks later. I truly believe Megan was tuned into something magical that day.”

Being tuned in is about listening to that intuitive voice, the voice of the soul. Like children, adults also have those hunches, feelings and knowings, those out-of-the-world insights and a-ha moments. We think of a song — and it gets played on the radio. We think of a friend — and they call us. We feel something special is going to happen — and we meet our soul mate. Of course, what really separates an adult’s intuition from a child’s is trust. Children are open and accepting; most adults aren’t.

Iris, a Reiki practitioner from England, says, “To develop our intuition, we have to trust it. Yet, as adults, we’re taught to be cautious of the unknown.” We’re cautious on the road (watching out for dangers caused by other drivers), we’re wary when we sign our name (careful to have read that small print that’s bound to hold some catch) and we keep a tight hold on our handbag (leery of theft). No wonder we question our intuition — it’s our default behavior, but it shouldn’t be!

Add to that mix a Western philosophy that believes that science and the experts (the doctor, therapist, teacher and nutritionist) hold all the answers, and it’s easy to see why we can convince ourselves that we can’t possibly know best. But sometimes we do! And sometimes, so do our young, inexperienced, unknowledgeable, intuitive kids.

Says Joyce, “When my daughter was 3, she told me she’d have to wear braces on her teeth when she grew up and that it was going to be a bad thing. I didn’t know what to make of it. No one in our family had ever needed braces, but sure enough, when Laney’s second teeth came through, she had a severe overbite. The hospital told us they’d need to break her jaw and reset it, because her bite was so misaligned. We were horrified. Finally, we found an orthodontist who could help, but it was a long road and involved weekly trips to the dentist for almost seven years. Laney was teased constantly until her teeth were finally straight at 16. She’d often remind me of her prediction and that she knew it would happen. I really believe Laney had a premonition about her life and the challenge she’d face. Who says a child can’t predict her own future?”

Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” But we shouldn’t forget our gift. We should use our intuitive mind and we should teach our kids to keep their intuitive connection strong and clear, too. The truth is that our intuition has an important role to play. At the very least, it can protect us from danger or alert us to the opportunities that lie on our path ahead. Forewarned is, after all, forearmed. At the very most, our intuition reminds us that we’re each a soul making soul connections in a multi-dimensional and spiritual world, and that’s little short of miraculous.

So how do we help our spirited kids stay tuned into their intuition? With these simple parenting techniques:

  • Ask your kids how they feel — Help your kids identify how they feel about a person, place or situation. The more they practice tuning into their feelings, the clearer they will become.
  • Encourage the “knowings” — We’re taught that no one likes a “know-it-all,” but maybe we should! Sometimes your child will just “know” the answer. Rather than roll your eyes, affirm that they got it right. Those knowings or hunches are often their intuition in action.
  • Listen, probe, be open! Your child may insist that something that sounds improbable or unlikely to you is true. Don’t shout them down, or argue the point. Listen and be open to their ideas. They just might be right!
  • Teach your kids visualization — Teaching children to visualize and imagine their dreams coming true not only helps them learn how to manifest, it keeps the right-side of the brain active and strong. That’s the part of the brain that is both creative and intuitive.
  • Play games of intuition — Play games that develop ESP and bond together over your intuition. Try these:
    • Use a set of colored cubes. Have your kids close their eyes and pick one. Encourage your kids to hold the cube and try to feel, hear or imagine the color without looking at it.
    • Color a picture. Ask your child to close her eyes and visualize the colors that were used and the image that was drawn. You might be surprised by the result!
    • Ask your child to guess who is on the other end of the phone every time it rings.
  • Pray and Meditate — Intuition is about listening to the voice of the soul, which is our connection to God. Help keep that channel to God open, by encouraging both prayer and meditation.

Medium John Holland says, “Young children who have been ridiculed for their intuitive abilities will push their thoughts and feelings away, while others don’t know what to do with them. Some children simply forget, and their abilities will fade away when they start school and use more of the left, analytical side of their brain.” In comparison, “intuitive children who are raised with respect for their insights…grow up to be healthy, balanced intuitive adults…with good boundaries and better judgment.” (Catherine Crawford, Psychotherapist)

As parents, we want the best for our kids. We teach them what we know. Sometimes, we have to teach what we don’t know. So open yourself up to the concept of a wondrous, unlimited universe of inner wisdom and intuition, and encourage your spirited kids to open up, too. After all, when we “follow our heart and intuition, everything else is secondary!” (Steve Jobs)

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Nadine Penny attained her M.A. from the University of Denver in Counseling Psychology. Nadine lives in Minnetonka where she works as a medium, life issues reader and Reiki master. Contact her at nadine.penny@gmail.com and visit www.nadinepenny.com.

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