…and when there is no village?
You still deserve support! It has become clichéd to say that it takes a village to raise a child – no one knows this better than parents in the trenches. But what happens when there is no village? What then? That is the situation most parents face every day.
In the more than 40 years that I have been working with children and parents, I have talked with many parents about the challenges presented by the lack of community in our lives. There is much the modern world offers and each of us treasures the independence of our lives, but it does come at a real cost.
What is it that community life offered in years past that we, in the modern world, experience as such a soul level loss? Is it practical help with caring for the children? Is it the relief of sharing the frustrations and delights with other adults who live in those same trenches? Certainly those things are a critically important part of a healthy family life, but I believe another very important aspect of community is the availability of those who have walked the path of parenting before us – those who have walked it but who are no longer living in the intensity and relentless demands of the childrearing years.
Why? When we are in the “parenting-trenches” it is hard, if not impossible, to take the long view, and harder still to trust ourselves when the stakes are so high and the demands so relentless. It is hard to know whether the explosive two year old or the outrageous 15 is just a passing phase, i.e. something you need to make peace with, or if the anger it rouses in you is your deep and wise alarm system letting you know help is needed. Without the perspective that was once a given in the multigenerational village life, what do we have to help us distinguish between the normal frustration of our very human adult struggles, and the voice of our wisdom alerting us to a deeper need?
Time and space certainly help – but of all the things in short supply for parents, these two top the list! So it becomes imperative to make better use of the time and space we do have. Over the years, many parents I have consulted with – whether by phone or in person – have described the consultation experience as one that provided an expansion of time and space that they didn’t believe possible. In a life where everything seems urgent, they found a fresh perspective – not just any perspective, but one that brought their own wisdom to the forefront.
If you would like to share in this sort of experience, I now offer consulting time for any interested parents – independent of work with the Enki curriculum. As well, if you would like to immerse yourself in a full day of “village” living, I invite you to attend the Parenting As Path Workshop this April. Details for both private consultations and the one-day event are below.