Archive for the ‘Parenting Heroes’ Category

Muhammad Yunus, micro-credit and parenting

October 2, 2009

harvestMuhammad Yunus is a heroic innovator of support and effective, compassionate assistance for the poor:  he developed the concept of “micro-credit” where tiny loans are made to the very poorest people, mostly to women, so that they can develop self-employment opportunities (i.e. small businesses selling hand made crafts).  Interest is not charged and his Grameen Bank has grown to be able to make billions in micro-loans.  Yunus’ model has also inspired other banks to successfully follow his model, all of which has garnered Yunus a well-deserved Nobel Prize, and become an effective, grass-roots way of addressing poverty—intervening at a level too small for big international programs to consider, too miniscule for “normal” banks to bother with.

Now what does this have to do with parenting?  Well, firstly, micro-finance as a construct underscores the power and impact of small amounts of help, given in a context of trust.  Yunus learned that people, particularly women, pay back their loans, and this trust got continually paid forward to millions of subsequent borrowers; likewise, as parents we might trust that our small moments with our children, our trusting their words rather than doubting them; our catching them being “good” rather than criticizing them for being “bad” are small, but powerful modes of empowering children toward success and toward a model of compassionate social relatedness—toward unity consciousness.

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On Target

September 3, 2009

Go cheerWhen we see bad parenting in public it raises thorny questions about what to do, or not do; but what about when we see good parenting… and what about if most everyone nearby fails to recognize it as such?

At the end of a long day yesterday, my wife and I were walking the dog through a hot summer night when she told me the following story and it just had to be my post for today.

She had been at target when, from across the store, she heard loud and relentless wailing.  As she approached the checkout lines, the one with the still-howling toddler was empty although all the other stands had long waits of people who would rather wait extra time than be near the screaming kid.

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What Whales can teach us about Parenting

July 13, 2009

whale up

Sometimes I find top-rate parenting wisdom in places that ostensibly have little to do with parenting. 

A beautiful, moving and profound article by Charles Sibert in the New York Times, “Watching Whales Watching Us” ( obliquely has much to offer us parents.

Sibert writes, “The sperm whale… has been found to live in large, elaborately structured societal groups, or clans, that typically number in the tens of thousands and wander over many thousands of miles of ocean. The whales of a clan are not all related, but within each clan there are smaller, close-knit, matriarchal family units. Young whales are raised within an extended, multitiered network of doting female caregivers, including the mother, aunts and grandmothers, who help in the nurturing of babies and, researchers suspect, in teaching them patterns of movement, hunting techniques and communication skills. ‘It’s like they’re living in these massive, multicultural, undersea societies,’ says Hal Whitehead, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and the world’s foremost expert on the sperm whale. ‘It’s sort of strange. Really the closest analogy we have for it would be ourselves.’”

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