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What are Intentions? How is desire involved?

Attention energizes and intention transforms. Whatever we put our attention on grows stronger in our life, whatever we take our attention away from withers and disappears.

Deepak Chopra

Starting with WHY

Where do you start, when you have a child and you desire to support his/her life’s passions? I heard a phrase similar to that in Simon Sinek’s Start with Why video from one of his thought provking Ted talks.

Why do we do what we do?

In this specific case…with children? Why do we tell our child directions, ask questions, encourage positive behavior, protect them from hurt and pain, interrupt them, finish his/her sentences, implying feelings they have…the list can go on.

How Intentions & Desires Create Behavior/Actions

Our purpose or intention behind our process is the key to understand and connect with. The desires we have for our children predicts our behavior. Allow me to explain

CHILD 1: We want our child to perform in (blank) activity well. To make sure this performance is up to our intended standards, we begin to behave in ways that (blank) make the child’s performance our result, not our child’s.

CHILD 2: Our teenager is learning to drive. He/She is eager to get his/her license, so we help by telling them what everything means. We want he/she to (be happy and) pass the exam, yet how does telling or directing someone make that person learn, transfer and resonate the knowledge being taught? Our intentions and desires were not matched and the behavior resulted in a variety of conclusions; including passing the exam…followed by running a stop sign he/she did not see on his/her regular driving route home.

CHILD 3: In the toddler phase we use the word ‘no’ frequently in teaching and discipline. It transfers to our child. As our child grows, they begin to use ‘no’ as their method of communication. When we explain what is OK for our children, the transfer of that behavior is identical to using ‘no’ for discipline.

Challenge the WHY

In previous posts on my blog page was, Mindfulness, which ties into this post I am typing to you now. If you recall in the Mindfulness blog post, we addressed the brain and the impact’s mindfulness can have overall. When we have intentions and purpose behind our desires, we need to evaluate the ‘why’ involved.

preferred process or modality with our children. Allowing an experience that is child-centered; we can become mindful of what actions, reactions and responses we have toward behavioral, social, physical adversities we will experience with our children.

Short term discomfort is better than long term pain

Love & Logic

We want the failures, it prevents long-term pain

I have been using the words “intention” and “desire” thus far and want to remain focused on those two words for now. Our intentions are the real power behind the desires that drive behaviors. Children, only recognize desires, which may be why we as adults run into conflicts with our little humans. A classic example: My child wants the stuffy my other child has. She pulls the stuffy away from her sister to get her desire/need met. The process on how one child gets something from another child is a learned behavior. Does this mean our intentions are learned based on experiences? Trail & Error experiences…

Intentions Need no Attachments

You know the less you are attached to an outcome, the more likely it will work in your favor? Crazy, ahy? Well, I believe it to be a strong area of how I define my own character. My behaviors are never perfect, yet, when I am attached to the behavior or outcome, I see the worst behaviors rather than proactive ones. “When we combine intention with detachment, our intent is for the future, while our attention is in the present” 7 Spiritual Laws to Success

HOW Do We Get Unattached?

Oddly, when we focus on the intention as something we want to see in the future, our attention to detail in the moment overpowers our need to force it or attach to the outcome. If we look back at CHILD 1, we will remember this child was most likely not given enough time and space to experience his/her own feeling of success or failure in learning to (blank). Instead the parent’s attachment to making sure the child is successful presents the obstacles we want to avoid as parents…Deemed failures.

Deemed Failures

We, as parents can NOT get around ‘deemed failures.’ Deemed failures are inevitable. CHILD 2, who is a teenager, may get his/her driver’s license. At some point he/she will fail in some way. (Driving, sports, college admission, dating, the list goes on). It is how we prepare the child for his/her future deemed failures that builds his/her own character as an adult. When we intend for our children to grow up as morally sound adults (among other things!), we can pay attention to the little moments now, when our children are small and malleable for learning from deemed failures.

Putting it simply: If your child has a shoe lace he/she will not ties, allowing the fall as a young child will break that into adulthood. The amount of falls would be less, the amount of shoe tying will be higher. Where as, we keep tying our child’s shoe well into their tweens, we are fixing what is their problem to hold, handle, succeed or fail in.

Getting to less attached, more child-focused

When we practice present moment awareness, we can tap into our desires easier and not try to force an outcome. CHILD 3 reminds me of the WHY. The present moment is essential to safety assurance for raising a toddler. By being present, we can see the activity of “deemed failure” before the child experiences. By allowing us to see the experience happen, we can be a respondent to the experience. Versus, when we hear the boom and go running into the room. Baby looks at you, you look at baby horrified in your face and baby cries. Well that’s not how we want to experience that, Yet, how often we have found our child on the steps, heading outside, going face first over something, etc. When we are distracted or not present, accidents will be possible, not inevitable, just possible. Phew~ As we grow with our children, we can pay attention to his/her needs that creates his/her ‘means to an end’ or ‘intention to attention.’

Full Circle

Remember when I mentioned our children learn intentions through how his/her desires are met through his/her actions? I think of a hotel lobby and a palm tree… A little girl is touching it, father tells her “stop, no, don’t touch” smacks her hand away. He never explains the WHY (or intention!) behind why he wanted her to stop and why it is not the best choice of hands. Why do five – seven year olds love to ask “why?” Their brains are seeking the solutions to the mental constructs in his/her brains. When we do not answer the why as our children are young, the likelihood of asking for more clarity when older is higher. How People Learn is a good resource to understand how people learn to gain clarity and resolution with in his/her own brains.


The more we interact and create experiences, the foundation of a solid relationship is being built. Adding present moment awareness enhances the interactions and experiences. Our ability to see the experience in the eyes of a child will alleviate some reactions and Respond-ability will be possible. Focus on your intention. Push the desires aside for a period of time, be present and allow the process of love, nurture and companionship begin.