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Op-Ed: The Urgency of Community Parenting

Updated: Feb 29

Writing this, I have just read about the Nashville shooting - of children… again. And I also read it last year, and a few months before that and before that. How many times can children become collateral damage to the folly of adults before we stop waking up to these tragedies taking away the most precious part of our population?

How many times do we have to hear of children dying of thirst and starvation, living in homeless shelters, violently separated from their families? No, these are not YOUR children personally. In fact, they are OUR children globally. They are set to inherit the earth, run industries, build careers, provide life-saving services to our “personal” children. We have to protect them all. If we want a safe, healthy, productive, loving world for our children, we have to protect all children. There’s an age-old saying that goes, “We don’t own the earth, it is on loan from our children.”

Children have to be protected so they can best care for our planet and the people on it. Children who are marginalized, traumatized and denigrated might not make good stewards, much less neighbors or friends. It’s not only a good investment, it’s the only wise action plan to gently care and lovingly look out for these future global leaders and citizens.

The time for children being collateral damage to our lifestyle, our wars and our weapons has to stop. I am seething as the occurrence of these tragedies have far passed the threshold of anomaly, of rare occurrence, to every couple of years, to every couple of months. This is not the mark of a civilized society progressing into a bright future. This is an alarming, nauseating dystopian descent. Collectively, we don’t know when it will stop and we can’t even agree on how to combat it.

Child In Mind speaks all the time about how to parent mindfully. We talk about thinking about your parenting on a larger scale - passed the 10-minute tantrum, passed the in-moment annoyance and knee-jerk reaction, into the future. How will what you’re saying, what you’re doing right now affect how your child behaves tomorrow, affects how they speak to themselves in 10 years, affects how they relate to other people in 20 years? It’s time to take this vigilant attention seriously. It’s no longer about making your life easier, or making sure your child grows up to be happy and successful. It’s about collectively parenting an entire generation that needs every last adult on their side more than any other cohort of children in history.

Here, I am pledging to contribute to this shift by:

  • Widening positive influence in my childcare program and through this advocacy group

  • Informing myself of what is going on with children not in my immediate sphere

  • Volunteering time and resources to help and be with in-need, underprivileged children

  • Staying aware of my actions and self-expressions, making sure they are always representative of a better world for children

Founder and Chief Dreamer of Child In Mind, Fabiola Santos-Gaerlan is a 22-year-strong provider of quality child care through Honeydew Drop Child Care in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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