Google+ Authentic Parenting: Change The World... One Parent At A Time

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Change The World... One Parent At A Time

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

This blogging thing is a lot of work. I think I spend about three hours a day just on writing and researching my articles, and then I'm not even counting the time I spend on Facebook, finetuning the blog or reading articles. I don't consider it to be work though - even though I might jokinly suggest that every once in a while - because it is so gratifying.
"Change the world... one parent at a time" is my tagline, and I believe this is possible.

Some days I wonder if it is worth the hassle. If I wouldn't be better off spending those three hours and loads of stolen minutes playing with the little one. But then I get a comment about how something I wrote opened a reader's eyes, or a likeronie - that's what I'm calling my FB fans now - thanks me for having suggested a gentle parenting technique, or tells me I made her think about the way she is parenting. This all makes it worthwhile and I think the little one won't mind the time she has to share me, if another little one benefits from it.

But this blogging thing... well, it is fairly easy, considering that the people reading it or 'liking' me on Facebook are already searching for advice and are like-minded.
In Real Life, however... things don't go so smoothly, and I don't advocate so loudly. Don't get me wrong, there is no doubt as to where I stand on birth, parenting and educational questions, everyone who knows me knows of my crunchyness.
But with the real life people, those who don't necessarily share my opinions, those who might even oppose much of what we believe and practice, one must tread lightly, move slowly, and often just shut up. It is hard, it is excrutiating even...
Sometimes I wish I could just take them by the shoulders and shake them up a bit, in order to have them open their eyes. But that's not how you create awareness. That's not how you change minds. On the contrary.

So I tread lightly, speak in whispers, move slowly and cry at night. But I did change some of them, a little bit at a time. Social change does not occur overnight.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:



  1. Beautiful! I know how you feel. Sometimes I am asked at work to "either be good or be quiet". Being good means I keep my semi-crunchy ideals to myself when working with families. I'm good enough though to speak loudly at just the right moments to activate some change.

  2. I think I have the best of both worlds. I joined a local AP/NP group when I was in my last trimester with Kieran - so my online friends *are* my real life friends. Surrounding myself in a crunchy bubble of AP goodness makes me forget that I'm not actually mainstream ;)

  3. I so agree with your impulse toward shaking people. I'm trying to remember to be patient and take a long-term view (hard when you know a baby is being affected right now, you know?). I love your perspective on this, and your tagline. And you're right, that the change must occur slowly and gradually if it's going to be owned by the people changing; it can't be forced on them. I will continue to hope and advocate as loudly or softly as I believe the situation calls for. I might try to be a little louder in real life, where I tend to say nothing at all!

  4. Dionna, that's wonderful! I wish that were at all possible for me; but even if I'd still be in Belgium; AP isn't very en vogue.
    @Susan: that's just plain evil!

  5. A little bit at a time. Momement by moment. One parent, one topic. I like the way you think. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Sometimes a whisper is more powerful than a shout. Don't give up!

  7. I think leading by example, and the well-timed quiet word, are some of the best ways to advocate in person. It's hard, sometimes, when we see and hear about really awful things, or things that could be easily done differently that would cause so much less pain, but I try to remember that we can only help people who want to be helped.

    There's a theory is social justice circles that we're all at different levels of knowledge (about oppression, etc), and we can really only have conversations or instigate change with those who are at levels near to our own. I think it works that way for things like gentle parenting and natural living, too. We're simply not going to make any progress advocating to people who are on the far end of the spectrum from us, which is what a lot of us would be doing if we talked about this stuff in person, but we can help people who are closer to where we are here on blogs -- and I think just by being who we are and living our lives, we can shift people in person a little bit, if only because they'll now know that this kind of parenting is possible.

  8. thank you all for the wonderful comments.

    Arwyn, the circle of knowledge thing is very correct. There are indeed people out there who it isn't worth frustrating about. in that case, I just answer the questions they ask me, or try to suggest sth that's maybe a little gentler than what they currently practice, but not as 'far out' as my parenting.

    Strangely, I have found that I can convince just about anyone to use Cloth diapers

  9. Oh yes. I still remember during my pregnancy with DS2 how my sister would get SO upset if I told her we wouldn't need disposable diapers for example, she would take that as a direct attack on HER parenting skills. It just got to be too much.

    You are doing great at your "whispers"!

  10. You're right, change doesn't happen over night. But with enough voices whispering, it will surely come.

  11. Change doesn't occur without conflict. Live your life openly and proudly and the results will speak for themselves.

  12. I love this - my motto in school was 'changing the world one life at a time' and it's a concept that always gets me. I guess the best we can do is speak in whispers - as they say 'you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar'. Keep up the good work. Off to have a look around the rest of your blog!

  13. Great post! You're doing a wonderful job. In the end, I think you'll be surprised at how many people you've influenced even in real life!


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