I'm 16 years old.
It's a regular scene in our home. My brother (13 years old) and I are sitting at the top of the stairs listening in on our parents arguing.
My parents are screaming and yelling at each other.
However, on this particular day, it's escalating.
"WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME?!" Yells my mum through her tears at my dad.
In her hand is a knife. She has put it to her neck.
"I'm going to kill myself if you don't love me!". She exclaims.
My dad is shaking his head. "YOU'RE CRAZY!!!" He screams back.
She is hysterical.. and he is reacting. She is screaming...
He reacts by stepping towards her and motioning that he is going to hit her...
I run downstairs to the scene of their fight and I'm terrified because I'm making it known that I'm listening in and in our culture "children are very much seen and not heard" and "this is an adult conversation so children stay out."
"DAD! STOP!!!" I scream.
It was the first time I have ever spoken to my dad in that way.
He shakes his head and walks away.
My mum is crying, sobbing, helpless.
I go in to hug her - she pushes me away.
Dad's walked into the other room.
Mum walks away from me.. she walks towards the kitchen sink, holds back her tears... and doesn't say anything.
She starts doing the dishes.
I'm in the kitchen standing there. I'm in the epicentre of what was the hysteria. Confused. Scared. Terrified.
It'll be another thing that my parents don't talk about. Another thing swept under the carpet.
I grew up in a "weird" household.
My dad turned to Buddhism and become a monk and shaman when I was 13. My mum and dad weren't together - and living under the same roof. He didn't want to be with my mum, and this was how he "escaped".
However mum never accepted this. She always wanted more.
She found it hard to accept the reality of the situation - and she was a victim to it. She regarded him as her husband. Even though he was far from a husband.
My dad - he was a victim in his own way. He used Spirituality to escape a reality he didn't want to deal with.
So here we are, a "picture perfect" family - Dad was really renowned in the community - he was the Spiritual teacher and guru that people sought. So many thought we had the "perfect" family. The obedient kids who performed well in school. Women adored my dad as he was the "listener" that they never had at home with their husbands, Men adored my dad because he was their guide.
And... It was a broken home. Messed up. Skeletons in the closet.
You see, this fight right here was because Dad, the "monk", who turned to Spirituality to find solace from his inner demons, has been connecting with another woman.
They talk on the phone. They go for coffee. They meet.
What my mum longed for, he couldn't give her - he was giving to another....and he is supposed to be a monk.
For my mother, she thought when he became a monk, she finally could have him all to herself.
Growing up, before my dad became a monk, I have never known him to be faithful and in love with my mother....and I can't honestly say that my mother truly loved my dad - she loved the idea of my dad. However, she never knew who he really was - and she didn't choose who he was.
I share this story because it has everything to do with parenting.
Our children inherit our model of Love. And if we have a broken model of Love, it's our responsibility to heal it.
Many parents have a strong desire for their children to be in fulfilling relationships and be in healthy loving relationships.
This doesn't happen by chance. It is an intentional effort.
And if we take the viewpoint, that we want the best for our children - It starts with making choices and living a life where we show up as the best for ourselves.
My parents self-sacrificed. My parents made choices from obligations. My parents made choices from Fear. My parents ignored their hearts.
My parents didn't believe, they were worthy, to live a life they loved.
This is the parenting paradigm we're breaking. Because it impacts generations.
If my dad really loved himself, he would have ended the relationship - and not stay because of guilt.
If my mother really loved herself, she too would have had the courage to leave and know that she is worthy of being in a healthy, happy, relationship. She stayed, because of religion, shame, and "what would other people think?!"
If they both loved themselves, if they felt whole - they would have given themselves the best opportunity to be happy, and be open to receiving joy.....AND knowing, that this is what parenting is truly about.
Because - when parents love who they are - they aren't projecting their pain, and they can be free to love their children from a place of choice - not an obligation.
This is the work.
This is the work in parenting.
The work of learning to love thyself.
The cost, of betraying yourself - is painful. It's toxic. And... it's the children that pay the price.
I share this story, because this is why I do what I do.
It was my own driver to heal my model of Love - because I knew I had an unhealthy baseline.
Nothing is more important in parenting than living from your Heart.
Nothing is more important than choosing Love, for you.
It doesn't matter what you tell your children or how "deserving" you think they are of Love - how you live your life is their permission slip.
Your relationship is their benchmark. Your relationship is the foundation for what they believe they are deserving.
So be inspired by your life and who you are - live an inspired life. And what you wish for your child, will bloom.
Heal your model of Love, and your children won't need to heal theirs.