By Jackie Schofield
We all come from families. Different kinds of families. Different cultures, communities, socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities. But no single contributor to who we are is more important than our parents. The relationship between parent and child is the most sacred and influential in shaping who we are and who we will become. This bond determines our existence, how we will relate to the world, how we will thrive in life. It answers life’s most important questions.”Am I whole? Am I worthy? Do I matter?”
And now you are here, at our LPPP Welcome Mtg, because you have chosen us to be your community, to join our culture and let us help you support the development of your child into who they will become. Maybe you came from a healthy thriving family and wanted us to help you continue building this with your child. Maybe you came from a family that left you yearning for more. Maybe you didn’t have opportunities and now have the chance to provide them for your children. Whatever the reason, you are here, and we honor that commitment.
So what does it mean to be a part of the LPPP family? It means you have joined a movement. A transformative shift in how we view and appreciate children and families. You are becoming a part of a culture in which parents engage in transformative parenting through relationship-based education. LPPP educators will work side by side with you, with their experience and knowledge as comrades of growth and connectedness. We will help you find new directions, new ways to build relationships with your children. At times, this will be extremely difficult and will challenge old ways of existing.
You may wonder, “What is so unique about that?” The challenge lies in shifting your mindset about children. To awaken to the realization that we are not here to change them. We are here to grow you! We are here to turn the mirror of life inward and nurture you, parents, to become whole, and worthy, and thrive. To know that you matter, to us, to your families, to the community. We are here to show you the positive outcomes of your engagement with your children. Not just positive outcomes for children but positive outcomes for you.
Children in today’s society face challenges that we could never have dreamed of before. They are on the front lines, in the trenches of environmental pressures and influences. The US Surgeon General’s Office reports that 1 in 5 children have signs of a mental health disorder. In 2011, 662,000 children were in foster care. And there was a 247% global increase of use of ADHD medications. Children without nurturing relationships with their parents are more susceptible to crime, low IQ, and a diminished capacity for compassion and empathy.
Something is wrong, terribly wrong. But the number one determining factor in our battle is you. The relationship you nurture between your children and yourselves. It is in the daily moments of greeting our children in the morning as they wake, bringing them to school after a tough morning and wiping their tears when they cry that makes all the difference. We hold a power that is transformative.
We have 3 Core Beliefs about children. 1. They are inherently good and worthy of respect. 2. They learn through play. 3. And they exist with boundless, unlimited potential. Nobel Peace Prize Winner and author, Daisaku Ikeda wrote, “In the beautiful swirling galaxies found throughout space, there is an astronomical phenomenon known as a starburst, during which thousands of massive stars are all born at once. The sudden, explosive burst in which the stars are formed makes the galaxy blaze brilliantly. This event is one of the great dramas of the universe.” We get the rare and beautiful opportunity to watch as each child bursts with brilliance into who they are and what they will become.
Our LPPP motto, “Where Parents and Children learn and grow together” is profound and ahead of its time. It is through this reciprocal relationship and education dynamic that growth happens. We are the ones that learn from our children. No longer is the top-down approach to parenting appropriate. We must learn to connect with our own sense of value and humanness. We need to look inward for our understanding of what it means to be alive. "Adults turn "play" into "achieve", we turn "hobbies" into "excel". (Tsabary, p. 67) We have to focus on our growth and efforts, not on results. We need to shift from externally motivated mindsets to our own internal evolution. Many of us wish for our children to live happy lives. But what is happiness? Happiness is not the absence of hardships, never feeling angry or sad. Happiness is the confidence that is developed when we know that obstacles will not consume us. When we have the courage to confront challenges and not be defeated by them. We need to trust our children, look at them as equal human beings, and as teachers and students of life. They awaken us to potential that we have disconnected ourselves from. And we, in turn, awaken them. We must develop the courage, wisdom, and compassion in ourselves that we hope to manifest with our children. And through our united growth as parents, we can transform society around us, one magnificent starburst at a time.
Thank you for joining our family.
Tsabary, S. (2014). The conscious parent. London: Yellow Kite.
“A Revolution in One Person Inspires Others”, SGI President Ikeda’s address at the 58th Headquarters Leaders, WT, March 31, 2006.