Tags: alfie, concept, continuum, jean, kohn, liedloff, love, parenting, reason, the, unconditional
My all time favorite book is The Continuum Concept. For me it stirs up feelings of love and motherhood in the title alone. I would recommend that anyone with any kind of contact with babies and children read this book. For me it solidified my instinctual feelings that were not getting validation elsewhere in society. Being surrounded by mainstream ideas can sometimes make us doubt whether our instinctual behaviors are the right way. It can also leave us feeling very alone and isolated in our parenting choices. For myself the guidance from my instincts has always been there but the doubt was always strong since my ideas weren’t widely accepted. I find myself wondering if many mothers feel this and tuck that inner voice away since it would be totally unacceptable to anyone in their inner circle. For example, the thought of questioning vaccinating their new baby. Maybe everyone in their family is a strong believer in vaccines, but when the doctor comes in and starts giving shot after shot, I wonder if the mother feels a lump in her throat or stirring in her gut that this just isn’t right. Motherly role models may tell her to just put the baby in the crib and let them cry until they fall asleep. All she really wants to do is run and scoop up her precious little one and save them from their loneliness, but she’s afraid to raise a spoiled child because that’s what her mother or mother in law said, and she must be right because she’s done this before. These are our instincts, and I choose to listen to mine rather than a commercial or someone else who is not my child’s mother.
This book shows us what life may have been like for our great, great grandmothers and what worked for them for much longer than the rapid recent societal changes experienced, especially in Western culture. Jean Liedloff, the author, spent 2 1/2 years in a South American jungle with Stone Age Indians. From her observations of their family life she was able to let go of her Western preconceptions of what human nature really is. By witnessing and understanding the Indians lifestyle she was able to regain much of the knowledge we have lost of our natural ways. So much wisdom poured out of this book for me and I was left with a deep sense of appreciation to Jean Liedloff for bringing this information to me and the world. A quote from one of my favorite authors, John Holt, says it all: “If the world could be saved by a book, this just might be the book.”
When the majority of mothers find out they are pregnant they go to a store like Babies R Us and start a registry of the things they will need. Through the simplification of my life I’ve realized there’s not really many “baby items” I need. If I were asked what items you need, when having a new baby, my list would look like this:
The Continuum Concept, a sling or Ergo type carrier, a car seat, cloth diapers (or you could EC) and whatever clothes you may prefer. It’s really that simple. Everything else would be useless to me. Yes, even a stroller. Since when did we need all of this stuff to care for a baby? Oh yeah, ever since commercials told us so. They are little humans who really only long for us.
I was originally going to just write about The Continuum Concept but I kept having a strong feeling that I shouldn’t wait to share my love of Alfie Kohn’s video, Unconditional Parenting. I love this DVD. I have watched it more than once, just to get a refreshed outlook on my parenting. It gets more complicated as our children grow and sometimes we feel maybe certain things like rewards or punishment may not be best but can’t think of a logical reason why. Alfie Kohn gives you plenty of logical reasons for many of the things that come up when parenting a growing child and not just babies and helps you shift toward love and reason.
So there you have it! My two favorites. There are many other excellent resources but these have helped me the most in my quest to be an instinctual, peaceful parent during times when I feel like I may be the only one doing it.