Thursday, April 26, 2012

Parenting Together

Criticisms of parents abound in the media and attempts to avoid being a "helicopter parent" without ending up a "distracted parent" can be crazy-making.  Films like Race to Nowhere and Bully reflect the importance of caring adults coming together to make the world safer and more responsive to children's developmental needs -- when we feel more confident in our communities investment in caring for children, when we trust the larger culture to do right by our individual kids, I think we can much more easily enact a parenting that is lovingly moderate - - when we're triggered by a sense that the world does not care well for our children and that raising our children is an essentially private job, it is easy for individual parenting to become more extreme or occur under extreme pressure.

I love the Parenting for Peace series, because it brings together parents and educators from our broader community to discuss public issues with regard to raising children -- these are not queries about our specific kids, but conversations about more general cultural and political issues -- from the Commercialization of Childhood to kids needs for "Wild Play," we've helped prompt some significant discourse over the last couple of years.

I am especially grateful for our co-sponsors who help to bridge FSP with our larger community and who also do the work of making raising-children a community affair.  This spring, we are collaborating with:

Mom to Mom of Maine - an especially important group for breaking isolation and helping to develop community among parents!  "Mom to Mom of Maine is a community of both stay-at-home-moms and working moms who join together to provide support, friendship, activities and advice."

Cumberland County YMCA - where the mission deeply reflects the importance of building healthy communities across our differences.  The Cumberland County YMCA is committed to building strong kids, individuals, families, and communities through programs and services that promote a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all, regardless of ability to pay.

USM's Teacher Education Department and School of Social Work  - both spaces where inquiry, reflection, action occur and ideas about children's needs are of top concern.

Media Sponsors

Children's Museum and Theater of Maine - a safe and engaging place where families come together to play and to connect (playing there saved my sanity when my children were small!) The Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine exists to inspire discovery and imagination through exploration and play. The Museum & Theatre serves as an indispensable resource for families and educators, helping to create a broad community devoted to our children's development and learning.

Hardy Girls, Healthy Women and Boys to Men of Maine -- both these organizations serve kids and communities by challenging stereotypes about "girls" and "boys" are supposed to be and providing resources for parents, educators and kids themselves to come together to create a more peaceful and inclusive community.

This list makes me feel less alone as a parent - together we can discern the values that will best support our diverse families and work together to implement communities where our families thrive.