Climate of Fear, Climate of Hope

Worryby Julie at ProgressiveKid

Webster’s defines worrying as mental distress or agitation, usually over something impending or anticipated. It stems from fear—fear of what could or might happen but hasn’t yet and quite possibly never will. Worrying can’t actually prevent bad things from happening, and it has a way of spoiling the mood of the worrier and everyone around him or her. What’s worse, worrying has a way of spreading, like stomach flu, and it begs for attention. When we are around a worrier, we usually either take on the worry too or feel compelled to reassure the worrier, neither of which is a very good time. Continue reading

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Forward to School, Not Back: Confronting Climate Change

Busesby Julie at ProgressiveKid

When children return to school this fall they will be exposed to the topic of climate change much more than ever before. Since the release in February of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report and the recent explosion of press coverage on global warming, more and more schools across the country are adopting climate change curriculum. Continue reading

Turn and Face the Strange Changes

Parents Facing Climate Change

by Julie at ProgressiveKidfluorescent lightbulb

Now that the mainstream media have finally acknowledged climate change as a newsworthy topic, still not as pressing as the minutiae of Britney Spears’ tragicomic personal life, but worth covering nonetheless, the precarious state of our home planet is on peoples’ minds these days more than ever. For parents, especially ones with active imaginations, the future is more than an abstract mental projection shrouded in a fog of anxiety. For those of us who have educated ourselves about the current and probable future realities of climate change, imagining life for our children and their children is fearful territory. Continue reading

Parental Anxiety: Running with Pointy Objects

by Julie at ProgressiveKid

plastic swordLike other parents of young kids, I find myself talking about parenting a lot. Dropping off and picking up my four-year-old daughter from preschool, attending birthday parties, watching ballet classes, hanging out with siblings and friends, I’ve heard the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. We all have our trials, our laughs, our fears and hopes. The wisest among us work hard to help our children develop into mindful, empathetic beings capable of thinking beyond their own narcissistic urgencies. We want our kids to be self-confident and humble, strong and kind, independent and interconnected, fierce and loving.

We parents these days are an anxious bunch. Perhaps it’s that there are 7 billion of us now on this fragile sphere. Maybe it’s that we are spending less time with our kids because we work more. It could be an overresponse to the fairly self-involved parenting many of us received. It may be an effort to combat the continuous barrage of unwholesome messages delivered by the Capitalist media. Or perhaps it’s that we have lost confidence as we’ve drifted apart from the basics of life—growing and cooking our own food, interacting with the natural world, spending time with immediate and extended family, building a fire, tending animals, taking a walk, writing a letter. Continue reading