By Katie Hagan

As a mom, one of my biggest parenting challenges is knowing when to give my children more freedom, to let them go. When our daughter was eleven and our son was fourteen, this was particularly worrisome for me. I asked my spiritual guide, the Mahanta, to help me resolve my worries and show me how much to let my daughter go and how much freedom she should have at that age.

At the time, our daughter was a homeschooler. It was a delight to see her explore the arts, nature, and literature while immersing herself in community theatre and storytelling. One of the first projects she decided to do was to identify each bird that came into our yard or visited the bird feeder. It was her special love.

At this same time, she was also asking for more independence. Could she go to town to meet a friend for a walk, to have an ice cream, or to window shop? Ours is a storybook town with tiny shops and a friend at every turn. She knew every storyteller and shopkeeper, and yet I still hesitated, clinging to my fears.

One night, shortly after my plea to the Mahanta for help, our daughter came running inside, saying she heard a bird in distress. It was nearly dusk, so she grabbed a flashlight and ran back outside. Soon she announced she had found the bird. It was tangled up in the plastic netting that supported the raspberry patch. Her dad ran down to help cut the netting to free the bird, but he was unable to do it alone because the young female bird had twisted her legs into the mesh. So my husband carefully held the bird in a firm grasp while I clipped the netting away, string by string. The little bird stood for a moment and then happily flew off.

We all knew this was a very special event from the ECK. I also recognized the experience as a waking dream to help me answer my question. The bird represented our daughter. Her dad held the bird safely while I carefully clipped the netting, giving freedom to the little bird; and now we had comfort in knowing that the time was right for our little bird, our daughter, to fly a little farther from the nest and have more freedom and new independence.

Around this same time, our son was also asking for more freedom. After four years of homeschooling, he had reentered public high school. But I still hovered over homework, chores, and tasks at hand. He, too, wanted more freedom.

We had a little garden out back, and each one of us managed a box. Our son’s box contained only one thing, hot peppers. He was not a vegetable eater, but he loved his peppers, making them into salsa and hot sauce. One morning at dawn, just before the school bus came, I looked out the back door and saw a young buck eating the hot-pepper plants! Within a minute, the bus rambled up our hill. As our son ran down the driveway to meet it, the young buck came to the front of the house and crossed his path, right in front of him.  They nearly collided! I knew immediately that this young buck with his new antlers was symbolic of our own little buck. And here he was, without his mother to guide him to which food to avoid, but eating the hot peppers anyway. This, of course, was my message from the Mahanta to let our son learn on his own, without his mother at every turn. Yes, he might eat some hot peppers, but no real harm would come of it.

The spiritual tools Eckankar offers are many. For me, having these tools to help me parent our children is a huge blessing. This one fantastic week helped me through many weeks of built-up anguish. The Master’s blessings are at every turn.

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Would you like to conquer fear? Try this spiritual exercise.