In 1994 I attended a conference that blew my mind.
The island of St. Maarten is truly a paradise to behold. I fell in love with it long before I moved here. But as in all the other Caribbean islands, there is another side of paradise most visitors don't get to see. And that year, some community leaders saw trouble ahead for your youthful population. The rise in youth violence was alarming. To tell you the truth, it wasn't really that bad compared to urban populations anywhere. But this peaceful small-island population just wasn't used to that sort of thing. A short period of robberies and extreme weekend crimes of passion had the island buzzing. The general feeling was that something had to be done...hence the conference.
They brought in movers and shakers from every sector to brainstorm the "youth crisis." We spent over fifteen hours in three days with a consultant trying to arrive at the root cause of the problem, and what to do about it. By the end of an entire week, we saw that the road to all community problems led from a widespread "lack of parenting skills."
Nothing prepared me for what happened next though.
The organizers acknowledged what the participants were saying, but they felt that the parenting issue was just too big a job to take on. They instructed the consultant and participants to narrow their focus on what could be done with young people at the level of the Department of Youth and Culture, and possibly the cooperation of the schools. They totally side-stepped the parenting issue... despite identifying it as the place where focus would be sure to make the most telling impact.
They were right of course. This was not their task. But I remember sitting there feeling drained, bewildered, and lost. It just didn't make any sense. Right then and there, I decided that parenting education would become an important part of my own life's work. I had no idea how I was going to go about it, but I knew it would be a long-term undertaking.
oday I'm quicker to say its "outdated" parenting skills, rather than lack of skills altogether. Societies develop parenting practices based on what works for a given population at a particular time in its history. Those practices are always legitimate, but they also change as the society itself evolves. We only have to remind ourselves how much the world has changed over the last 25 years or so. Its not surprising that our parenting practices are lagging behind.
We're also discovering that this dilemma isn't just a local one. Modern societies are grappling with it all over the globe.
Updating of parenting methods has to happen faster, and with a more urgent sense of direction. TLP is the online presence for a whole slew of community services and products for prodding that essential "update" along. I invite you to join in with our growing global community. The work is so essential at so many levels. Although it's effects are long-term, tackling the "parenting problem" will help your community to:
Perhaps the most important reason for you to get involved with the "Life-Parent" approach however, is that our focus is on you as a parent and an earth-dweller yourself. Sure.. we teach and build parenting skills, but we work from the premise that your parenting will still only be as good as YOU are.
And we believe that you desperately wish to be the best person you can be..if only to make yourself the perfect role-model for your child. But time waits for no one. You will have your children under your roof for a very short period of time. Time to get growing is NOW.
The quest before us is to develop and teach ourselves the life-skills families need for excellence in the information age. One lesson I've tried to use from history is the truth of humanity's oneness. As a species, everything we do, we do best as a social unit. Going it alone bears tarnished fruit.
As spiritual beings, we are only beginning to perceive how inseparable we really are. Separateness is an illusion, and it quickly morphs into a veiled nightmare we not only think is real, but normal as well. To reconnect we have to lift the veil...all of us. My intention is for TLP to always offer a vision that represents the best of a unified human spirit. That necessarily means a holistic, inclusive approach.
The reverse is also true. As we take the time to create a unified vision in cooperation with each other, we naturally bear abundant fruit for all. But you have to be actively engaged in co-creating a growing global community.
That's the fraternity I'm asking you to join. To get started, subscribe to the free offering below.
Rodney C. Davis