Do you remember the “village” your parents had when you were a child? I remember groups of parents looking out for us as we stayed out all day playing. I remember my parents knew most of the people in our neighborhood and trusted them. As kids, we did too (except for the people who lived in that house with the black curtains at the end of the street!) With our “village” I remember feeling safe.
Recently, I came across the book, The Village Effect. In it the author discusses how we need close social bonds and uninterrupted face time with our friends, neighbors and families. Her research has shown that this is crucial to learning, happiness, resilience and longevity.
The village as we knew it has changed, but the author believes that we can still do certain things in order to create our village:
Principle 1: Live in a community where you know and talk to your neighbors.
Principle 2: Build real human contact into your workday.
Principle 3: Create diverse relationships and spend time with them face to face.
Principle 4: Adjust the ratio of face-to-face vs. screen communication.
Principle 5: Have face to face activities and interactions be a priority for young children. Teach children about limiting screen time and the importance of face to face interactions.
Think about HOW it feels to spend time with a friend or family member and REALLY connect. And how different this feels from our connections via social media or another digital form… It is so much different when we look someone in the eye. Not as much gets lost in translation or misinterpreted. Real empathy, understanding and intimacy come from being face to face, and thus we gain a greater sense of love, belonging and connection. This is why spending special time (one on one) and eye to eye with our children is so important, and also why I believe my program Parenting in the Workplace is so successful.
I recently had a class with the City of Clearwater. When the parents first walked in the room the stress was palpable. As I guided them through the experiential exercises, parents were given a lot of time to collaborate in pairs and groups- face to face. As participants left you could feel the energy shift. The stress was reduced. By sharing their stories and wisdom with other people, their lives became more manageable. They weren’t the only parent who lost it sometimes or had a challenging child. They didn’t FEEL alone.
And the feedback was astounding: “I have been trying to find appropriate online forum to help me with my new baby challenges, but this class was so much better!” “It was so helpful to know that others were going through the same thing!” “The collaboration was great!” And more.
How can I help you grow your village? Contact me for more information on Parenting in the Workplace, Private Coaching or Classes. firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-289-5411.