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by Marie Brunger chapter 14

I AM 4 KIDS BRINGING BACK OLD FASHION VALUES INTO MODERN DAY LIVING Having spent fourteen years studying and working in alternate education and the healing fields, I have been given the opportunity to see some of my own limiting beliefs and make that magical shift that not only changes my life but the lives of those around me. You know the old age saying that “When the student is ready the teacher arrives’? Well it works the other way around too. “When the teacher is ready the student arrives” It’s True! I know because my students have given me as much as I have given them. And when I have been ready they certainly have arrived, at times in the most strangest of ways. We need to remember that we are all students and teachers alike no matter what age. I have been privileged to work with an array of adults and children presenting all sorts of life, and life threatening, issues. Mostly, I feel particularly blessed for what I have learned from sessions with our kids. I believe that our children are our best teachers, if we let them. Now as adults, parents, uncles, aunties etc., I simply ask that you are willing to shift the perception you hold about children, kids, sons, daughters, or what ever label you want to give them, and begin to see them as our teachers, healers and dare I say, our saviours. Quite often the solutions you are looking for are contained within the so called problem. And all too often we see our kids as being the problem! So look again because you may well get to see, not only them, but yourself in a new light. Way of the Heart

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Remember we are all someone’s child no matter how old we are. And we are all kids at heart. It’s just that in a struggle to be the responsible adult, many have forgotten those all important child like qualities contained right in the heart of ourselves. And if you are reading this and you consider yourself a child or a teenager then it’s time for you to accept that you can be more responsible for your life and your outcomes than you probably realise because real intelligence does not necessarily come with age or education. Many years ago I was ready to give up because I was so frustrated with seeing the light go on in the eyes of our children only to send them home or back into the same old environment. Then the light went on in me and I began to see that it was my beliefs that were holding us all back. I needed to shift the perception I held about our kids and how I related to our kids if I wanted to make a real difference in our world. I used to say things like “But they are only children, how can we expect them to be the responsible ones. Ah! but you know they are not only children. They are much more than that. They are little people with big loving hearts and open minds. Generally speaking, they have less accumulated baggage than we adults and therefore are less reluctant to open up, examine the contents and find they have more to gain by letting it go. Many are wise and spiritually intelligent beyond their years. Many are as frustrated as I was because they know they are more than what they portray and they long to be who they really are. Instead they grow up in conflict struggling between conforming and transforming; doing as they think they should rather than what they feel is right for them. And isn’t that a perfect reflection of most of us adults today. “Listen you adults, for we are here to help you. We are your reflection if you only look deeper. Give us some value beyond our years and we will show you how valuable you are. It’s all about getting back to values. You know those values that got lost oh so long ago, being replaced by the need to compete, to perform, to succeed and to be more than. If only you listen to us... we know that as you do less, be more, then more will be done naturally. That when you accept that trying is tiring you will let go and let God guide you, easily. We know in our heart that it isn’t what you do; it’s who you are that counts. We know that being one self now is far more important that doing something greater in order to become someone later. A champion isn’t so much about winning it’s about being. We know that it is time for us as kids to take love back into the home and to show our parents and adults how it is done.“ 70

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“We know that being one self now is far more important that doing something greater in order to become someone later.”

If we are willing we will learn more about ourselves through our kids than probably any other way. What if we begin to shift our thinking and allow them to bring forward the spiritual truth that we are missing? More often than not our kids will reflect back to us the changes that we can make in our own lives to help ourselves and therefore help our kids naturally in a much kinder and more powerful way. My first experience with a young person was some eleven years ago when his mother brought him to me to help him overcome ADD for which he had been on medication since he was three. Mum was, and still is, a dedicated and loving mother with many great qualities, giving her son as much love and support that she knew how. Although I could see the loving qualities in her, she was unable to fully and consistently experience them in herself. It was obvious to me that she had some very deep rooted beliefs about herself that was not conducive to good self esteem and her son’s difficult journey was a perfect reflection of the perception she held about herself. A mother with issues around “Not being good enough” will often experience these beliefs through her children. Now the interesting thing is if she was willing to shift these beliefs she held about herself, her son would have a much better chance of shifting the behaviours and become the reflection of her new found beliefs. However therapy for the son was on. When I asked him what ADD meant to him he responded with “Astronomical Diabolical Disease. WOW, at nine I was surprised that he could even say it let alone know what it meant. This was my first experience of changing the “meaning” of something which lead to an astronomical change in his life. Way of the Heart

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“I suggest that we consider that we are all equal and that we all deserve to be respected without reason or cause.”

One of the things we did on the first day was to change the name to Added Determination and Desire. Another key was to elicit a few values that were important to him. Respect was number one. Not bad for a nine year old eh? It was an amazing session. The next day his mother rang to say that he had thrown up his medication! As the medication was removed the little boy’s spirit began to bloom. Unfortunately more problems were created because no one knew how to handle it. This boy is now 14 years of age and even all these years later when I see and talk with his wonderful and beautiful mum she is still projecting her beliefs onto her son and wondering why her old patterns are being repeated. And although this beautiful spirited young man has achieved a great deal he still seems to be in trouble. My question is how much longer will we adults and parents keep finding things wrong with our kids to support the beliefs we hold about ourselves. Come on parents, wake up and see what your kids have to offer you... it’s something way outside of the square. When working with cancer patients I witnessed a young child in the last days of her life. In my heart I know that this little girl was teaching her parents something very valuable and I wondered if they would get the message. Unfortunately if we don’t get the message easily it takes a gut wrenching event to wake us up and there is nothing worse than seeing children suffer, is there? Eleven years of running the “I AM” programs with the kids at Beerwah High School in Queensland, Australia has certainly woken me up to what is possible. 72

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Graham, the co-ordinator has developed an amazingly successful program and I am honoured to be a valuable part of this. In delivering my program I am mindful of treating these teenagers as equals or as little adults helping them to realise that they have something very valuable to offer themselves, their team mates, me and those who come into contact with them. I talk about the ripple effect and I get them to see a much bigger picture of what is possible from their own sharing and healing. This sets the scene for a very productive workshop and an ongoing network of people helping people. They soon get to realise that “If it’s to be it’s up to me”, that times have changed and no longer can they rely on their parents to do if for them. If they want changes in their life then they have to take the responsibility and make it happen. That if they want it, they have to be willing to give it, that age is of no barrier, unless they let it. They learn that nothing means anything until they give it a meaning. That everything is neutral until they attach a story to it. And that it is the quality of the stories or the meaning that they give something that will determine the quality of the life they lead. And so if they are willing, no matter what has happened in the past, they can change the story, the meaning or the belief they dreamed up and they can change their lives, leaving the pain of the past behind them. In doing so, they can become a ripple, or even a wave, that positively floods, effects and infects the lives of those around them. Asking these kids what they want and eliciting values to begin with is a buzz. Respect is the number one value ninety nine percent of the time. This becomes the foundations for the rest of the workshop. First we look at the beliefs they have around respect. You know... “You have to respect your elders.” “You have to earn respect.” They are given an opportunity to change this immediately. I suggest that we consider that we are all equal and that we all deserve to be respected without reason or cause. As we move on allowing each little person to respectfully tell their story and come to terms with their own lot, we can at times hear a pin drop. The majority declare “I just want to be myself.” Most of them have trust issues and are carrying heavy loads of guilt about “There must be something wrong with me” and “I am not enough.” Does this sound familiar to you? Together we elicit more values until we have built up a decent list. Sometimes the meanings of the values alone are enough to keep freedom at arms length. Have a look at the meaning of commitment and freedom because you may well find them at the opposite end of the scale. And yet it only takes a commitment to the Way of the Heart

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Truth to set your self free, meaning that commitment and freedom walk hand in hand... now... think about that. From this point on they begin to realise that all they want really is within each and every one. As we build our life on these foundations from the inside out, all things become possible. Forgiveness too is a key value and when we take away blaming others and ourselves for what we think we or others did or didn’t do, we come home to a place of being neutral and natural again where new choices can be made that will influence our future in a much more loving way. Six weeks later, the final session of the workshops – a trek – provides us with feed back as to how much these young people have taken on board and put to practice. And I must say I am staggered at some of the changes and some of the things that come out of the mouths of our so called ‘babes’. One girl shared how she decided to overcome her trust issues early on in the trek and allowed others to help her. She shared that she had also helped her team in many ways but realised that mostly her presence was enough. WOW! Others report the change at home since they took it upon themselves to ‘Be the change they most want to see.’ Over the past 9 months I have been working with a government funded school project tutoring kids from 9 to 13 who have failed to reach the bench mark in specific areas. I am integrating the “I AM” program into the tutoring sessions and I have found, not surprisingly, fears are reduced, confidence rises and more often than not improvements are reported in all areas of their life. Over the years many people who have participated in the “I AM” PROGRAMS have taken the foundations and taught it in their own unique way. Parents have taken the principals into their home, teachers into schools and leaders into their respective fields of business and have enjoyed the rewards. My mission this year is to expand “I AM” even further a field and make it a house hold name. To do this I need more facilitators and more people who are willing to share some of their time, money or services to set up “I AM” Beyond University so that we can make “I AM” available for Everyone. Age is of no barrier unless you let it. We are not looking for University degrees or letters before or after your name. What we are looking for is a degree of passion to make a difference followed by the letters I AM... with love. b Marie Brunger – Making a world of difference, interested? Give me a call. Mobile: 0414 18 35 66 • Email: iambeyonduniversity@yahoo.com

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I am for kids by Marie Brunger 14.1