Introducing…The NEW Confident Parents Lead Writing Team!
In this tenth year of the Confident Parents, Confident Kids blog, we are celebrating by elevating voices in our diverse community of learning parents. A small group of expert professionals who also deeply reflect on their own parenting are coming together to co-create the present and future of Confident Parents, Confident Kids! And you recall what Margaret Mead said about small groups – with social purpose, great vision and intention – they can change the world. But the only way for a small group to change the world is through ripples – through connections and co-creations with other learning communities who are equally passionate and committed to confident parenting. That’s where you come in. Join us, won’t you?
Each of our new Confident Parents Lead Writing Team members (long-time change-makers and contributors here) have responded to the simple questions:
What is the purpose of parenting? What does it mean to be a confident parent?
And we want to pose those to you as well. What is your parenting purpose statement? The start of the year after several years of particularly challenging times could just be THE moment to proclaim what you stand for. What are you about? What gives your life meaning? Here’s your chance. Write in and share your thoughts in the comments section or email confidentparentsconfidentkids@gmail. We’ll be eagerly waiting to grow our collective wisdom together. After all, confident parents learn from one another and grow stronger together.
Here are the responses from our new Confident Parents Lead Writing Team!
Nikka Hargrove’s Parenting Statement
When I committed to adopting my son is when I decided to become a parent. It was a choice I made to be there for another human being, to mother him, and provide for him in all of the ways he needed but more so, in all of the ways I felt I was not provided for as a child. For me, parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever done. Today, I am the mother of three and give them what I can of me, even the broken parts. In other words, I bring all of me to the proverbial parenting table. They’ve seen me cry and doubt myself. They’ve heard me talk about my hips (yes, the ones I am still growing to love), and they’ve heard me argue with their mama (we are a two-mom household). I’ve learned over the years that parenting isn’t one of those gigs where I can say it’s “all or nothing” because it’s everything. It is not meant to be done alone or in a silo. It is here, in this everything space and with the community I’ve built for my family, that I continue to grow my confidence as a parent. As a parent, I make mistakes, and I must keep going. I must admit to those mistakes and relish in the times when I get it right – whatever that means for whatever situation we are in. The dreams and hopes I have for my kids are just that, mine. I will influence who they are and who they will become by being there: emotionally, physically, and in all of the different ways the three of them will need me as they grow into who they are meant to be.
Nikkya Hargrove is a writer for Scary Mommy and has written for the The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Taproot Magazine, Elle, and more. Her memoir, Mama: A Black, Queer Woman’s Journey to Motherhood, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books. She lives in Connecticut and is a parent to one teen son and two young daughters.
Lorea Martinez’s Parenting Statement
“Once I was a perfect parent. Then, I had children. The end.” – Anonymous
The purpose of parenting is to help your children become the best version of themselves. It is not to change them or tell them where to go, but to nurture their minds, hearts and souls so that they can find their voice and place in this world. Confident parenting is being there for our children as a guide, mentor and coach, to let them feel all the feelings and experience life as it is. Confident parenting is to help your children discover who they are and how they want to contribute to make this world a better place. When we parent with confidence, we do it from a place of love and courage. To be a confident parent is to find the light in darkness, and help our children do the same.
Lorea Martinez is the award-winning founder of HEART in Mind Consulting dedicated to helping schools and organizations integrate Social and Emotional Learning as well as author of the book “Teaching with the Heart in Mind.” She lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters.
Jason Miller’s Parenting Statement
The purpose of parenting is to create a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment for the healthy growth and development of a family’s physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. A confident parent is one who is able to successfully fulfill their role by modeling and prioritizing a humble, self-reflective, continuous learning practice for themselves and for their family as a whole. A purposeful parent is confident; a confident parent is purposeful.
Jason Miller has over twenty-five years of experience as an Organizational Development and Operations leader, coach, and consultant with his own business, Inner Sound and serves on the leadership and faculty team of the Hudson Institute of Coaching. He lives in Ohio is a parent of one teenage son (and husband of founder Jennifer Miller).
Shannon Wanless’s Parenting Statement
I see the purpose of parenting as being a steady and solid rock for my children as they get to know themselves and decide how they will be in this world. That means offering unconditional love, assurance, a feeling of belonging, and a family identity for them to feel grounded in. People talk about your family as your “roots” and that feels so fitting for my definition of parenting. If I picture my children as trees, I hope to be the strong root system so there is an unwavering base and they feel like they have a lot of room to grow in a different direction if they choose, without fear of ever completely falling down.
I have never considered myself to be a confident parent, which is funny considering how much time I have invested in learning about parenting and child development. My children are constantly growing and changing as they reach new stages of development, so on one hand—it never feels like I am completely sure of how I am parenting. On the other hand, my parenting compass is to make sure that all my parenting reflects my unconditional love for my children, my assumption that they are always doing the best they can, and my belief that my role is to support them, not change them. That compass is something I am 100% confident about. This is who I hope to be for them, and I am confident that any decisions that come out of these values will be the best I can offer them.
Shannon Wanless is an Associate Professor as well as the Director of the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and teenage son and daughter.
Mike Wilson’s Parenting Statement
Being a parent is a child’s initial experience with unconditional love and, as a father, my initial feeling of infinite love. Love is an intangible emotion that is expressed through shared experiences. Consequently, it is the guiding principle which dictates my actions regarding the responsibility I have for the lives of my children. As a parent I’ve accepted the fact that love is fluid and evolves over time.
Initially, when I heard my first born would be a girl, my knees uncontrollably buckled. It was as if my mind, body and spirit resigned to the fact that my life was no longer my own. Now a father of two girls, I often catch myself looking at them in amazement. They are only 23 months apart, so the oldest one can barely remember life without her little sister. Conversely, the younger sister has never experienced life without her big sis. They have an unbreakable bond cemented by the caring environment their parents have created. On numerous occasions, my eyes tear up when I hear their simultaneous laughter. Even if I am not aware of the cause for their laughter, the moisture in my eyes is a constant reminder of the uncontrollable fact that my life is still no longer my own.
As they’ve grown through infancy and young childhood into teenagers, I recognize our relationship is changing. Today they need me to serve in the role of provider, advisor, mentor and a source of safety and dependability. As their need for independence grows, I no longer receive the cheers and hugs as a greeting when I enter the house from work. It’s a position I knew would someday happen yet still emotionally caught me off guard. Additionally, I know that one day they will grow and find the love of their lives. Yet, I pray that my daughters’ future memories will overwhelmingly be full of more simultaneous laughter. As for me, they will always be my daughters who can make me tear up with their laughter.
Mike Wilson is the Outreach Coordinator for Harris County Department of Education, CASE Program and host the Making After School Cool Podcast. He lives in Texas with his wife and two teenage daughters.
Jenny Woo’s Parenting Statement
I believe that first and foremost, the purpose of parenting is to ensure physical security and psychological safety for my children. To parent is to cultivate a nurturing environment that encourages children to engage in the messy discovery of the self and the outside world. As both a parent and an educator, my goal is to guide my children to become creative, compassionate, wise, purposeful, and productive contributors to society.
A confident parent listens before speaking. A confident parent is secure with who he/she is and is not, and is not afraid to role model vulnerability and admit when wrong. The confident parent is aware of what they need and what their children need, and the differences in between. A confident parent also mindfully navigates and diffuses the expectations, pressures, and lures of the external world, for themselves and their children.
Jenny Woo is a Harvard-trained educator, TEDx speaker, and founder/CEO of Mind Brain Parenting and creator of “52 Essential Conversations” and more card games teaching social and emotional learning. She lives in northern California with her husband and three children.
Want to learn more about the members of this incredible Confident Parents team? Check out their bios on the site!
You’ll be reading articles from each of them throughout the year on the most relevant topics — what they are wrestling with and attempting to learn and promote in their own family lives.
As we read in the daily news the importance of social and emotional well-being of our children and the adults who love them, I can’t think of a more important way for our contribution to evolve through this group of caring, committed parents who will bring their expertise to lead our dialogue and contribute to our growth.