Thursday, June 25, 2015

What is Holistic-Minded Parenting?


Today I sent some commentary to a Facebook friend who's writing a book about motherhood. It's being published by Llewellyn, one of the best known imprints within the new age market. (You probably already knew that, but, if not, it's even better known now! Boom. You're welcome.

Anyway, I sent her a private message with some anecdotes relevant to her manuscript, which she requested via a Facebook group. Specifically, the moms in this group identify as being "holistic minded," and the act of writing to my friend got me thinking about what being a "holistic minded mom" actually means. I wrote a post for an old blog on a similar topic, but I referred to the concept then as "natural parenting." I did that because "natural parenting" was a buzz word which kept cropping up in the literature I was reading at that time, about 4 years ago. Now, it strikes me as kinda dumb. I mean: Can you really have an unnatural parent? I don't think so. 

If you have kids (your own or adopted), and you are waking up each day and making the decision to be there for them, you are engaging in a natural process and hat's off to you. It is really hard work, guided largely by intuition about what's best at the time--regardless of whether that's taking them to McDonald's so you all can get a moment's peace while they bond on the playground or whether that's digging deep into your vegetable garden where everything's organic and the children are learning to identify plants by their scientific names.

So . . . . .

Today I've decided to update my original article with a focus on what it means to be "holistic-minded" rather than "natural."  

Literally, a holistic approach considers the whole. As a mother, it typically refers to making decisions based on your child's mental, physical and spiritual self (whatever that even means!) rather than on any one aspect of his or her being. It also means considering a variety of approaches to enriching life and problem solving rather than just following whatever contemporary society deems to be the standard procedure. It isn't embracing quirkiness for quirkiness' sake or going outside the proverbial box to "stick it to the man," so to speak. However, it IS being both brave and sensible enough to go outside the box if evidence and intuition show that the box does not contain the answers your family needs.

For me, being holistic-minded applies very directly to my family's non-traditional living and business structure. However, in general terms, here's a little guide to the key elements of a holistic-minded parent's philosophy.
  •  Body: Holistic-minded parents are well-versed in alternative medicine.  Even though we sometimes deem medical doctors necessary, we support natural childbirth, resist mandatory vaccination, and use a combination of healthy eating, gentle exercise, meditation, supplementation and alternative therapies to treat and prevent most illnesses.

  • Mind: We value education which focuses more on teaching children how to think than on teaching them what to think. Sometimes this means supplementing traditional public or private school experiences in unique ways. With increasing rapidity, it means creating our own hybrid models of education by homeschooling our children or placing them in non-traditional learning centers and programs which provide a uniquely thorough, balanced and nurturing learning experience for each specific child.

  • Spirit: We have a deep sense of connection to nature and reverence for the sacredness of daily life. We may express this through creativity and activism. Or we may express this through some form of distinctly spiritual practice or ritual. The latter may be done in the context of organized religion provided that it rejects fundamentalism and indoctrination.  
  • Behavior: When it comes to disciplining our children, we focus less on praise and punishment and more on helping our kids objectively understand and learn from every incident so they may independently become the best possible versions of their own unique selves.
As a mother, I feel like holistic parenting also brings with it an awareness of how each day I am, on some level, giving birth to myself and being transformed into someone who manifests the future of my family, one moment at a time.

If you're interested in learning more about holistic-minded parenting, my Facebook friend's aforementioned book will provide some information. Learn more about it here: http://emilyafrancisbooks.com/.

If you happen to live in GA and want to connect personally with holistic-minded parents, I just attended an the inaugural run of an event which is wonderful for doing that. It's called Dancing Tree, and you can learn more about it & the community which organizes it here: https://www.facebook.com/heartwoodhealthandyoga.


Those cute snow pics of my son on "The Mystery" post have inspired me to share this cute snow pic of my daughter now.

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