Indigo Children – New Age Myth or Proof of Evolution?
First of all, for any of you interested in Buddhism, check out my interview with Sylvia Boorstein on BellaOnline. Ms. Boorstein is a founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern CA, a regular columnist for the Buddhist magazine Shambhala Sun, and a bestselling author of several books, including Happiness is an Inside Job, recently released in paperback.
Now, on to the subject at hand – Indigo children, or rather, the theory of Indigo children. For those of you not familiar with this term, ‘Indigo children’ refers to a popular belief within the New Age community that most of the children being born today are part of a new stage in human evolution, and that they posses certain specific traits designed to help them deal with the challenges humanity will face in coming generations. Proponents of this theory believe that many of the children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD are actually part of this new generation, and that their education and care needs to be handled in a certain way so that they can manifest their gifts to their highest potential.
I use the term ‘New Age community’ rather liberally, when in fact, I am not sure there is a cohesive community as such. To most people, many of my ideas would be considered ‘New Age’, although I don’t use that label for myself, and have issues with some of the theories put forth by leading New Age thinkers and teachers. And many of the supporters of the Indigo children theory are psychotherapists, teachers and childcare workers that also do not consider themselves New Age, so it might not be entirely accurate to label it a New Age theory.
In any case, here is the list of traits purportedly exhibited by Indigo children, as reprinted from www.IndigoChild.com, the website maintained by the authors of the first major book on the subject.
* They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)
* They have a feeling of “deserving to be here,” and are surprised when others don’t share that.
* Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents “who they are.”
* They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).
* They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.
* They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought.
* They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).
* They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.
* They will not respond to “guilt” discipline (“Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did”).
* They are not shy in letting you know what they need.
First the skeptical view. As many have noted, this list is general enough to apply to almost any child, at least some of the time, so doesn’t really seem to indicate a new stage in evolution. And additional questions arise from the fact that many proponents of the theory think at least 90% of children born in recent years are Indigo children. If that is the case, what are they being compared to? When are they not around their ‘own kind’? And, even allowing that this generation exhibits some specific traits, where is the proof that this is part of a new incarnational cycle? Who says it is not the result of sociological shifts in the ways kids are raised, or television, or the foods they are eating (or not eating), or any number of other factors that are different from when their parents (like me) were born?
Still, when I read some of the observations from childcare workers and parents about children they believe are ‘Indigos’, I can’t help but sense there is something to this theory. I think part of the complication of sorting through this subject is that so many people have latched on to it to support there own individual agendas. Problems arise from the fact that lists like the one above are ‘scrubbed’ of any reference to the children’s energies and intuitive abilities. I suspect that is because the authors are trying to reach a broader audience outside the New Age community, particularly the parents of ADD and ADHD children, in order to offer them alternative options (besides Ritalin, that is.) And that is a goal I support, but without some of the psycho-spiritual descriptions of what defines an Indigo child, there doesn’t seem to be enough meat to the theory.
Part of the reason I am so interested in this theory is because I have three young children, the first of which is eligible to start kindergarten next year. I am concerned about the educational options available to us, and homeschooling is not an option I am interested in right now. As it turns out, Montessori is one of the educational systems viewed as supportive for Indigo children, and all three of mine attend a Montessori preschool, where they are thriving. And I do sense something specific about them and their generation, on an energy level. While the list above doesn’t entirely fit them, I can relate to it on a certain plane.
What has interested me more, however, is some of the energy descriptions of Indigo children (and here is where I am going to get New Agey on you.) The term ‘Indigo’ came from an intuitive who attempted to classify human energy systems according to the colors of their auras in the 1980s. She observed that many of the children being born at that time had a kind of energy pattern that she had not seen before. Over time, she (and other intuitives) saw more and more of these children being born, until it hit the current levels, where most children born are believed to be Indigos. I don’t see things in terms of auras, but I do sense energies, and I do think this generation has a warrior-like spirit that is unique. As intuitive Doreen Virtue puts it in her book The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children, “It’s almost like they are in boot camp being prepared for combat.”
Overall, for me the jury is still out on this theory. I am uncomfortable with some of the grander predictions and expectations being placed on these children, but I am not willing to disregard the theory altogether. And I support many of the ideas being put forth by leading proponents of the theory – that our schools need to be overhauled to deal with today’s children, that drugging our kids is NOT an answer, and that today’s children need to be properly prepared for the world, and problems, they are going to encounter.
If you are interested in more info on Indigo Children, check out my book review of Empowering Your Indigo Child. For more posts related to spiritual parenting, go to the Parenting page, or for children’s spiritual books, visit the Books page.