I would never claim to be a contender for ‘Parent of the Year’, but I have come to know a few things about raising children- as a mother of two daughters and Founder of the Colorado Springs Conservatory. As a mother, I am forever grateful for the upbringing and formative years my parents afforded me and my sisters. As a point of reference and model for bringing up my own children, I would never have changed my childhood for anything.
There was learning, time shared, discipline, chores, religion, relatives, family gatherings, time in the kitchen- you know all the things that you may have rolled your eyes at 20 years ago. As the Founding, CEO of the Colorado Springs Conservatory I have been witness to 27 years of parenting styles- you can only imagine- a good gauge for what works and what doesn’t work. Fast forward to 2020- COVID and quarantine- and all I hear is that there is not enough to do at home with one’s children. I say- call in the community!
There are many who are not blessed as I was during my childhood. I recognize that. So what is a parent to do? “I never learned how to cook!”. “I don’t have time to read with my child.” “It’s impossible to get everything done that I need to and help my child with his/ her homework.” “I’m losing my mind with all my kids are home with me all day.” I believe I have heard all of these very proclamations no less than a dozen times a week since March of 2020 when our lives changed to the core.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to learn how to bake from scratch from your grandmother as I did, or sew a button on a shirt, or make a paper mache puppet- I would bet that you know someone in your community who could teach you how to during these times. Sure you can Google and put your child in front of the computer tutorial. Why do that, when you might be able to call upon a friend in your community. Enter the brilliance of Facetime or Zoom!
There is someone in your proverbial, “community rolodex” who would be THRILLED to get a call from you asking them to help you and your child to bake a pie over Facetime or Zoom. Imagine the joy that unfolds from here. You realize you have a support system in your community friends, your child is going to make a pie with you and your friend in your very own kitchen and let’s not forget the impact you have had on your friend. We are all feeling isolated right now. Our senior citizens are an especially isolated population right now- an afternoon on Zoom or Facetime baking a pie together makes for forever memories for everyone.
Community- that beautiful word that has so many layers of definition- layers of love.
I for one, love my community. Sometimes I imagine each and every person I meet, work with or share time with as an extended member of my family- my crazy uncle, my verbose great aunty, my lovely cousin from the farm. Yes- we are all family. Like it or not. I truly believe that it is community that will get us through all of this with our heads and heart intact. Why not teach your child the importance of that extended family from the very beginning. They will thank you – as they grow old and lean on their community and realize that you have given them that gift of friends and a collective group of humans that no matter which way you look at it, is- a gift that lasts a lifetime. That is why I believe one should embrace Community- now more than ever.
Now- go bake that pie!