Monday, July 19, 2010

What Is Ahimsa Mama All About, Anyway?

I think part of my resistance to working on this blog lately has to do with defining what, exactly, Ahimsa Mama is about. I recently completed my master's thesis on humane parenting with the Institute of Humane Education, so naturally my work up until this point has used their work as a starting point. However, there is something about taking the principles of Humane Education and applying them to raising children that has struck me as a little inconsistent with my personal parenting philosophy.

Ideally, educators are concerned with the personal development of their students, but in the end their primary responsibility is to the material they are teaching. Humane Education is no different - it is a form of activism that seeks to expose students to alternative ways of looking at things in order to encourage them to behave compassionately towards humans, other animals, and the environment.

Parenting, on the other hand, has different objectives, or at least it does for me. Of course raising my children to be compassionate, responsible, thoughtful individuals is a high priority for me. However, my top priority is to them as human beings. I am still an activist, but first I am a mother to my children. I want them to be expressive, creative, curious, happy and fulfilled. Unlike a teacher I have my kids from birth and have the opportunity - indeed, the responsibility - to "fill their cups" so they have love to spare for the world around them.

So what Ahimsa Mama is really about is raising children in an environment of support and unconditional positive regard so that they can grow to be well-adjusted and actualized individuals who are able to find their callings and seek to have the most positive impact on the world they possibly can.

To that end, I will be working on revamping Ahimsa Mama over the next few weeks and months to better reflect this dual-pronged approach to raising children. I will be seeking resources for raising children with kindness and respect, as well as for lightening our own and our families' footprints on our planet. I invite your comments and suggestions, and I welcome you to join my on this path.

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