A personal inventory, if taken before becoming a parent and again throughout each stage of parenthood, reveals areas where further development may be needed to achieve inner balance as a mother or father. The inventory below contains twenty questions. Look within to find answers to them; return to the questions calling for deeper contemplation; then do whatever inner work is necessary to bring about the changes you desire. The more balanced you are as a parent, the easier it will be to provide your child with long lasting sustenance.

  1. Who are you?
    Knowing who you are has a great deal to do with knowing where your ancestors came from. The Creator gave everyone an original homeland. What’s yours?
  1. What is the history of you people?
    Acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects of your ancestors’ history since together they help shape your identity.
  1. Do you know what spirit is?
    Spirit is the life force permeating everything on this earth and beyond. An understanding of spirit feeds your inner development, furnishes strength for your life’s journey and connects you to all other forms of energy in the universe.
  1. Are you of good spirit?
    Reviewing your accomplishments, see if you respect them. Practicing this respect in everyday life, and encouraging others to do the same, is to be of good spirit.
  1. Do you use alcohol, drugs, or other substances that hurt your body and disrupt your mind?
    If so, get help to free yourself from these harmful influences.
  1. Do you need emotional support or guidance?
    If you do, find people who can assist you in a spirit based way.
  1. Are you a victim of abuse?
    If so, seek counselling, as well as information about the effects of abuse. Physical, sexual, emotional, and mental cruelty all come from people who are out of control and using others to gain personal power.
  1. Do you take care of yourself?
    If not, learn to nurture yourself so you can better nurture your child.
  1. Do you associate with the elderly?
    Relationships with the elderly can deepen your respect for all of life. Learn to see these people as your teachers.
  1. What don’t you like about yourself?
    The traits and characteristics you don’t like are affecting your self image. Find ways to improve these tendencies by altering your routines and attitudes, getting counselling if necessary, and asking the Creator for hope. Or simply work on letting them go.
  1. What do you like about yourself?
    The traits and characteristics you like inspire you to feel good about yourself. Bring them to expression often.
  1. How can you improve yourself?
    Do you want to feel more motivated, more helpful, freer, or better directed. Make a list of self improvement goals and do your best to accomplish them.
  1. Is your health as good as possible?
    Assess your physical health by getting a check-up. Then learn better ways to take care of yourself and improve you overall well being.
  1. Have you thought about death?
    Consider that death is not bad or terminal. In Cherokee culture, we are taught that death is a long journey taken to the Spirit World in the Creator’s land, where the person’s spirit continues to grow.
  1. If you already have a child, how involved are you in parenting?
    If your child is an infant, does he receive round the clock parental care in the home? If your child is older, do you listen to him and offer guidance? If your child is a teenager, do you encourage open communication and pay close attention to his concerns? If you are not giving your child sufficient care and guidance, seek out more information, a support group or counselling.
  1. Are you working to heal your inner self?
    The first step in healing the inner self is to recognise any pain, anger, sadness, or loneliness that may be blocking access to your spirit and obstructing your vision of the future. The next step is to clear your mind and heart of the distress, either on your own or with professional help from someone you trust.
  1. Do you feel negative towards other people because of their race, skin colour or religion?
    If you do, get in touch with your feelings and motivations, then work towards increased awareness and tolerance.
  1. Do you feel victimized by personal circumstances?
    If feelings of victimisation are causing you to see yourself as weak and powerless, recognise that you have lost contact with the potent energies of your inner spirit. To reestablish this contact, free yourself of inner burdens by connecting with the forces of nature, or seek spiritual guidance from a trusted friend or counsellor.
  1. Are you grounded or ungrounded?
    To be grounded is to be true to your beliefs and capable of reaching your goals. To be ungrounded is to lack strong convictions and means for accomplishing your goals. If you are ungrounded, check in with yourself every morning upon waking and modify any unrealistic goals you have set for the day.
  1. Do you think the Creator for all that has been given to you?
    Expressions of gratitude for good fortune keep open your channel of communication with the Creator. If you are going through hard times, still give thanks to the Creator, for difficulties usher in valuable lessons.