Here we are, trying to be the best parents that we can in a time when independence is valued at a premium.
Detached from the communities of extended family from which our parents and grandparents received their support, the culture of parenthood today has transformed. The practical capacities passed through the generations are now shadows. We question our instincts for raising children:
What are our children asking of us?
How do we parent?
How did our lives get so stressful?
Why do our children feel overwhelmed and conflicted?
If you too have this experience, welcome to the club!
Enter Simplicity Parenting, a series of step-by-step classes where parents are introduced to the basics of a simpler family life so that ideals, goals and dreams more closely align with their own reality.
Here, we examine themes such as decluttering our homes, rhythmic moments for connection and calm, scheduling, and unplugging to reduce influences such as adult concerns, media and consumerism.
A work book is used, with non-demanding ‘homework’ that inspires hope. Parents and even their children when young, can feel despair due to exhaustion, which can make their personal quirks shift over to disorders. In Simplicity Parenting, we offer support to create “small, doable changes” which decrease stress and shift these disorders back to quirks, allowing our genius to shine through. We support the parents in making and tracking these changes around the children, creating a vehicle for transformation.
When we slow down, we can come closer together and deepen our relationships with each other. By simplifying, we increase our children’s capacities for getting along with others. We clear the space for them to cultivate powers of attention, healthy play, ease of transition, form deep relationships with others, and develop personal expression.
By working in small groups, the sharing of stories awakens compassion and interest, and helps to build trust. Although for some people it may be difficult to speak into a group, the realization that we are not alone as parents provides hope and courage to persevere and bring about change and sustainable transformation.
Simplicity Parenting is interested in the potential: What is going well?
Where there is dissatisfaction, how can we harness the power of imagination to create a picture of how things will look when they are much better?
The small, doable change is the springing board from which we can shift our habits. By tracking our commitment to living these changes, we hold each other accountable and share in celebrations. Sometimes, we also share in each other’s glorious defeats. Why is failure good? Because failure is a sign of our awareness, and all the little failures along the way help us to evolve to get us where we need to go.
Although we are surrounded by millions of people, it is easy to feel isolated, and a bit of despair. We reach out to each other through social media and find connections with people we will, in all likelihood, not often see in person. It may sound glum, yet this is a proper condition of our time.
Our path is unique, no longer determined by heredity, geological location or even ethnicity. But like those who parented before us and who strove to break free from their own tribal ties, we are raising our children during a time in which we have an opportunity to truly change our approach to parenting, through the strength of our own individuality.
Acting and thinking outside of the box is par for the course for us. Finding like-minded parents is the oil in the machine. Strategies such as those presented in Simplicity Parenting, become positive tools and the anchors of our journey to be content individuals and united families.•
- Judi Remigio is a parent and child teacher at Halton Waldorf School. email@example.com