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From Parent to Global Citizen: Embracing Our Role in the Lives of All Children with Community Parenting

Updated: Mar 4

As parents, we strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our children, focusing on their well-being, education, and experiences. While we may feel accomplished in fulfilling our responsibility towards our own children, it’s paramount that we also consider our role as global citizens. Across the world, countless children go without nutrition, shelter, education, love.


To protect ourselves from the horror of the reality that so many children do not get what they need, we tend to embrace individualism, disconnecting from our experiences with these very children as they sit next to us in the park or on the bus.



Four school-aged girls and an adult coach in red baseball shirts kneeling on a baseball field putting their hands into the middle of the huddle

But these children will go to school, eat in restaurants, work next to us and our own children. Thinking they are none of our business is wishful and more plainly, incorrect. The children of the world are our business. No, we cannot freely access other people’s children (that would be weird), but we do have access to our relatives, friends and neighbors. Growing up in a community is a blessed experience. It is crucial that we recognize the importance of these children's lives and their wider societal impact, and take action to support them. We call this community parenting. How we can do it may surprise you.


Spreading Love: Children are born with dignity and innocence, and it is our duty to help them preserve these qualities as they grow. By adopting a positive and kind demeanor when interacting with children who are not our own, we can contribute to sustaining their inherent dignity and ensuring a better future for our planet and society. The longer they retain these qualities, the more positivity they will bring to the world as they shape it in the years to come. Our present actions towards children can play a significant role in the future world they create.


Time with Extended Family: Let us set aside any irritations or disagreements we may have with our extended family members, including political differences. Children are so not aware of these complexities! And it is our responsibility to model harmony and show them that the world is a loving and peaceful place. Negative words and emotions are confusing for them, and they struggle to reconcile spending time with people we have criticized. By emphasizing ethics, honesty, and justice, we can positively influence their growth and development.


Creating the World We Want to Live In: While circumstances may not always be ideal and in our control, we have the power to shape our perspective and response. Maintaining a curious and open mindset contributes to a better life, even amid tragedy and pain. By having a consistent reflection practice, we can potentially impact our external circumstances. It is essential to appreciate what we have and focus on gratitude, as it leads to understanding, forgiveness, and generosity. We could avoid the mindset of scarcity and teach children that there is enough for everyone.


Gratitude: Ok, we know. Gratitude is a buzzword. You hear it so often, it’s hard to even take it seriously. But frankly, embracing gratitude is the fastest path to a stress-free life. It shifts our mindset towards empathy, forgiveness, and generosity, allowing positive energy to flow freely. When we cling to our perceived entitlements, we may lose sight of the joy and abundance in our lives. This mindset can inadvertently be passed on to children, fostering a foundational sense of scarcity, which makes it nearly impossible to be happy. You’ve seen it before: “There is not enough for everyone, help! I need my turn, my share, my time!” By not lamenting what our lives aren’t, and practicing gratitude instead, we teach children self-fulfillment instead of innate inadequacy. 


Reflecting on our own childhoods, we may often wish, “If I only knew that,” or, “If someone just believed in me a little, I would have taken the risk. I would have felt better about myself.” Because of that reflection, now we can provide that encouragement to the children who need it now. The smallest gesture will have a lasting impact on a child who needs it, like a single drop in a larger pool. As responsible parents and global citizens, it is incumbent upon us to extend our care beyond our own children. The world's children are our collective responsibility.



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