A conversation with a friend and fellow activist inspired me to offer some special love and appreciation to all of you parents out there this week. My friend, a longtime mover and shaker in the environmental justice movement and recently a mom, shared with me her sadness and anxiety at how much time she spends parenting these days and how she “can’t find the time to engage in any real activism anymore.” I emphatically offered her my perspective, which is that I believe conscious parenting deserves to be honored as a real and profound act of sacred activism.
I say this to you moms and dads, mind you, as merely an outside observer of your ways. I’m in my 40’s and childless by choice, a proud GINK (green inclinations, no kids). But it seems important to duly note that there are many ways to be a ‘spiritual activist’ and to be certain, parenting can be one of them.
Now this is by no means a new perspective, and there are some powerful discussions about parenting-as-activism taking place, online and off. Still my friend’s doubt compelled me to share gratitude this week and to remind you parents that whether you carry a bullhorn to the rally or a changing bag to the farmer’s market, you do still have a seat in our activists’ circle.
I’m grateful to see you dads and moms striving to provide safe and nutritious of foods for your children, keeping their body temples safe from toxins, being mindful of the sights and sounds you introduce them to. Apprenticing the next generation of humans who will inherit the role of caretaker of Planet Earth is important, and as you nurture the young ones you nurture our movements for change.
I share this in hopes that we all will practice the artful release of all judgment, and this includes judging others—or ourselves—for how ‘active’ we may be in the ways that we might traditionally think of as activism. Let’s gently honor all the contributions of each and every one of us towards positive transformations of our communities.
Healthy movements, like healthy ecosystems, are marked by diversity, so as we honor the front line agitators along with the litigators, the researchers and the letter writers, let us also honor the parents. For just such an occasion, and in your honor, I offer you three delightful initiatives by and for spiritual activist parents:
A bedtime story we can all get behind: Innosanto Nagara, a father and artist with the collective Design Action has created a social justice themed ABC book called A is for Activist! (B is for banner, billowing in the wind. G is for grassroots, and so it goes.)
Mindfulness practice for the whole family: Dr. Mark Bertin, a developmental behavioral pediatrician and author prescribes meditation instead of medication for parents and children who want to find calm in the chaos of our busy world.
A new paradigm of empowered birth: Spiritual counselor Stephanie Dawn Preston is fostering a growing movement of Sacred Birth practitioners, dedicated to weaving spirituality into their birth work. She hosts workshops and ceremonies for expectant parents, offers meditation for a peaceful pregnancy and leads a mentorship program for healthcare professionals who want to restore sanctity to the birth experience. Get ready to march, because September 3rd-10th is Empowered Birth Awareness Week!
Thank you moms and thank you dads, for your sacred service! This GINK offers each of you a deep bow and a wink.