I read an amazing article on the love of parenting that I felt was compelling. It was recently shared by ecovillages.ca, an offshoot of the hardcopy magazine The Co-Creator, which is dedicated to connecting people with other people who have similar visions for the creation of intentional communities.
The “Utopian dream parenting” article reminded me of when I was in high school and wanted to connect with adults. I joined a program called Team Youth with Teen Touch, a helpline for youth. The program in the early 2000’s was one that selected volunteers from schools across Winnipeg, and I was lucky enough to be chosen.
I worked with my peers first to set a goal: create ways for us, as youth, to bridge the gap with the adult world, as we put it.
Our initiative culminated in a video project that we then filmed and edited ourselves. It included the results of us asking the same questions to both adults and teens we interviewed in the city, as well as in rural communities.
We asked things like, “How close do you feel to your parent/child?” “How much time do you spend with them?” “What does your city/town do to make you(child)/your child(parent) feel like a valuable member of the community?” “How often do you do something fun together?” “What do you think would make you(child)/your child(parent) happier?”
Our research was based on the hypothesis that (then) modern city youth were more likely to end up involved in crime than rural youth and we wanted to know if it a) was true, and b) why?
We found that people in rural communities had a lot more connection with their children due to them finding ways to give their youth more responsibility and attention outside the city.
Some of the rural parents mentioned working with their children in family businesses, local youth councils and church youth groups helped keep them close.
Both rural and urban parents of the happier children said they spent as much time doing important tasks with their children and making them feel included and necessary as possible. Many parents of the unhappier children said they felt they needed to spend more time with their kids. And the teens echoed that, from what I remember.
When we presented our findings to the minister of education at the end of the school year, it was all very anti-climactic for me and I wasn’t sure that I had made the difference that I had wanted to.
After reading this article by a homeschooling parenting team, I really began to think: maybe we were on to something because they too echoed our findings.
In “Utopian child rearing” written by Keenan and Kristin Dakota, after having successfully completed the task in graduating their youngest child, now 18-years-old, from their home school, they describe their personal view on raising children
The Dakota’s included an outline of their self-titled theory that an adequate amount of attention from an adult is sustenance for a child’s development.
The Dakota’s put together a simple list of ten things that a parent can do to give a child a utopian upbringing.
While it includes some subjective concepts, they also include great advice such as: Enjoy their company. Accept every request as legitimate. Don’t punish, stop and explain things. Learn what they like. Laugh at their jokes. Listen to their stories. Try to understand their emotions. Encourage discussion. Let them know fairly often what you think is right and wrong. Share whatever you are passionate about with them. Expect them to be interested in you.
All of these things seem very reasonable to me and I bet that if you need to, you can take this philosophy to other parts of your life and see what benefits unfold.
Do you or does anyone you know dream of making the world a better place? Please write to me and tell me what you’re doing to stay heart centred in your everyday life, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.