The Little Goo-Roo: Lessons From Your Baby
Publication Date:October 1998
Reviewed Title:The Little Goo-Roo: Lessons From Your Baby
Reviewed Publisher:Illustrated by Alana Lea Gordey (1997), 138 pages. Atlas Press, P.O. Box 7054, Boulder, CO. 80306 ISBN: 0965796019
The Little Goo-Roo: Lessons From Your Baby, is a poignant, humorous, interactive, and thoughtful book whose purpose is to help awaken consciousness through the experience of child rearing. A charming book written from the point of view of parents who are reaching out to accept the gifts of truth that children inherently bring, the book is a template, organized in a series of 46 lessons. Parenting is presented as an opportunity to cultivate a relationship with the child which will promote personal and spiritual growth.
The book begins by expressing an appreciation and respect for the child as a spiritual master. The authors, Jan and Tracy Kirschner, write, "the Little Goo-Roo spent many months in a dark cave, all by herself. Her students (i.e., her parents) waited for her with great anticipation. She waited until the time was right, and then revealed herself to the world." As soon as they saw her "shining face and eyes, so totally alive and alert," they knew that the Little Goo-Roo, whom the Kirschner's named Naomi, was meant to be their teacher. "They set about learning the lessons she was teaching them as quickly as they could." This attitude is in harmony with pre and perinatal psychology which teaches that unborn and newly born babies arrive as aware, sentient beings with preferences, thoughts, feelings, and desires. Babies are pure "beingness." Their fresh, innocent state of being helps to raise the consciousness of the parents rearing these children. How profoundly simple is the orchestration of life! The child teaches the parent who is teaching the child. The parent learns from the child who is learning from the parent. The individual is both the teacher and the student at the same time. Each individual "teacher/student" comes into relationship with another "teacher/student" to create the evolution of consciousness. This is what The Little Goo-Roo so vividly portrays. All consciousness is the ebb and flow of "being" and "becoming."
As a parent of children both living and non-living, I was struck by the realization that becoming a parent for any length of time automatically enrolls one in this interactive cycle. The lesson "The Necessity of Tranquillity" illustrated that each time the students got upset with life, The Little Goo-Roo mirrored their distress. "The Simplicity Of Life" led to an awarness that for the Little Goo-Roo, life's activities were as simple as possible. However, her students often got lost in unnecessary complications in their own lives. Another lesson called "Beginner's Mind" made the parents remember, while watching the Little Goo-Roo, how important it is to approach each moment as if it is a new experience.
Several other lessons which were particularly significant for me, because I lost twin boys in the last two months of pregnancy, were "Don't Take Things Personally" and "Compassion". When something would happen to cause the Little Goo-Roo to suffer the parents were deeply hurt. This led them to a deeper feeling towards all who were suffering. I realized, once again, what amazing Little Goo-Roos my unborn children were. As a result, I became very reflective and found myself writing in the blank page titled "Notes" adjacent to each lesson page, providing space for the reader to journal thoughts, memories, and feelings that are stimulated by the content of the lesson.
In addition to being thought-provoking, The Little Goo-Roo is a book laced with humor. For instance, "seeing The Miraculous In All Existence" (once they could perceive a big pile of poop as a miracle, the rest of life became much easier) and "Change Is Inevitable" (every few hours, change the diaper!) Lessons like these lighten the learning process. This process can deepen with each subsequent pregnancy and parenting experience, as well as through each of the many stages of growth and development of an individual child.
The need for children to recognize their individuality through discovery of their inner self is shown through lessons such as "Comfort Is Found Within" (the Little Goo-Roo would sometimes begin to cry, and then swiftly find her thumb, and be quieted and delighted), and in "Surrender" (they watched The Little Goo-Roo struggle to keep her eyes open, and finally give in to sleep. It was during the struggle that she seemed most agitated. Surrender always brought peace).
Spiritual growth is an often forgotten aspect of personal development, yet it is the deepest dimension of oneself. I find this an important message conveyed by The Little Goo-Roo. This message is shared through such lessons as "The Importance Of Accepting The Help Of Someone Bigger" (the comfort and joy that the Little Goo-Roo got from being held by them reminded them that they, too, were being supported by someone, or something bigger in the universe), and through "God Is Everywhere" (wherever the Little Goo-Roo looked, she would find God-in another's eyes, in a rattle, in music, on a blank wail in front of her).
As a potential learning tool, The Little Goo-Roo guides parents who want to see parenting in a new light, one in which the child has a direct impact on their personal growth. All interpretation of life events is based on free will. That is, we choose the meaning of our experiences, and the actions we will take as a result of those choices. There will be those parents who choose not see the lessons their children bring to them, or even that they have an opportunity to develop their consciousness through the process of parenting. There still exists too much apathy, neglect, and abuse. The miraculous is taken for granted. This is why a book like The Little Goo-Roo is so profound. It can open the eyes of those who want to see, whether parents-to-be, new parents, or veteran parents. It can deepen the understanding of child rearing as an antidote to misunderstanding and ignorance about parenting and the self.