My mom is really good at raising kids.
While I know that could sound like bragging, and maybe it is, I am grateful to her not only for the way she raised me, but also for the ways she has taught me about how to parent in a way that teaches children to trust themselves and grow into adults who think critically, acting in ways that align with their beliefs, no matter what the majority group is doing.
From my own childhood, the childhoods of my siblings and now watching my mom teach my niece, I have learned children are small people who, like us, want to be listened to and understand what is going on around and within them. Giving time and attention are the most precious gifts an adult can give to a kid, and those two gifts solve most behavior issues. Consistency, routine and a healthy diet go a long way. So does getting down on a child’s level so you can look into each others’ eyes while calmly and quietly explaining why they can’t have or do something. It’s important to make sure children know they are your priority, and also that you have fun together.
You just love them and make sure they know that through your words and actions, my mom says and lives.
I am thankful for her example not only for the difference it has made to my own life, but also for the ways it has equipped me to work with young people and think about how we might heal the disparities and fill the gaps we see around us, through helping one young person at a time realize the unique beauty, power and necessity the vessel of their body, heart, mind, spirit and soul contain. It’s true, it is no small task, but it’s one we have the privilege of taking up, and why don’t we do that together?
So, in this issue, we look at lineage. We hear from three sets of parents about their parenting philosophies in their families with foster, biological and adopted children. We view the photos three photographers created during a game of photography telephone. And we learn styling tips from a writer who wears items of clothing passed down from her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. We hope these stories help you consider those who have come before you and what you have inherited from them, while reflecting on who comes after you and what you are passing on.
Although I’m not a parent, I’m interested in anything that concerns women, including the concept and reality of mothering. I’m interested in our society, where it’s headed and how we equip young people to shape the future. And I’m interested in how we raise our girls and how we raise our boys, and how we might conduct both of these affairs in a way that helps them better understand, respect and work for the dignity and equality of the other. It’s through both women and men together turning inward to focus on the home and regarding this domestic, private sphere as the point of it all that we transform the public issues facing our world today and create a place of justice, wholeness and love for everyone.
To all of the parents out there in whatever stage of life you’re in, thank you, and keep on keeping on. What you’re doing matters and is deeply important.