Queen mountain Gemma Bou via Compfight

See-Saw Parenting is not a how-to approach to parenting but rather an attitude toward other human beings—one of respect, honor, an “I-Thou” mentality. My friend and colleague Alan Hawkins, Professor of Family Life at Brigham Young University, put it very well in his review of Family Entanglement.  He described it in the following way:

Read other parenting books if all you want are specific tips for how to handle various parenting tasks. If, on the other hand, what you want is the bigger picture of parenting, an empowering perspective to understand the challenging but exciting and soul-full work of creating loving, respectful relationships with your children and guiding them day-to-day on their journey to maturity, then read Dr. Toronto’s Family Entanglement. This is a book about commitment to being a parent, not just “doing parenting.” Toronto’s gifted prose will pull you through each informative chapter and her revealing personal narratives will make you feel like you have a personal mentor in your own parenting.

As Dr. Hawkins said, see-saw parenting invites us all to look at the bigger picture. I am very aware of the tedium of daily life with children, especially small children. It is so easy to become over-whelmed by their constant demands, their relative incompetence at so many tasks, you know, like eating, walking, sleeping. Why would we ever sign up to care for people like that? If we are to survive in the grinding role of care-taking we have to take the time to remember that we are nurturing minds and bodies that will house the precious souls that populate the universe.  It is more than raising children. As part of the human community we are developing new recruits –people who can build a better world for us, for them, for everyone.

It is this idea—child-rearing—as a commitment to build a better world that has led me to think of parenting as a way, an effective way, to realize the elusive goal of peace.

So next week: Parenting for Peace!