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continuum concept

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
I would like to know what it is all about, but I can't find the book at my local library and don't have a car during the day to go further than that to find it. I also can't afford to buy the book this month so if anyone would spend a minute to give me their view of it that would be awesome!

I want to do a poll about it, too, but need to know more about it first.
post #2 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
I would like to know what it is all about, but I can't find the book at my local library and don't have a car during the day to go further than that to find it. I also can't afford to buy the book this month so if anyone would spend a minute to give me their view of it that would be awesome!

I want to do a poll about it, too, but need to know more about it first.
Here you go: http://www.continuum-concept.org/cc_defined.html. Poke around that site, you'll get a ton of info about it.
post #3 of 57
That's a nice intro link Laura
post #4 of 57
I totally agree with the points listed on the above link. That part of the book I thought was good, although nothing you couldn't get in any pro-attachment parenting book.

It's been several years since I've read it, but I seem to remember two areas in which the book lost my respect: One was this idea that trying to keep kids safe is hindering their development. Now, I think I get the general point she is making, and we are parents who let our kids use matches and axes and the like while under parental supervision. However, I am not cool with the whole "let them burn their hand on the fire once and they learn that fire is hot." When using the axe, we have a rule that our son must have shoes on. I'm not willing to let him hack his foot off just so he learns that you should be wearing shoes when you use an axe.

Second, there was a bit of a snotty attitude in the book about how if you aren't allowing your child total freedom that you are screwing up your kid. There didn't seem to be any sort of allowance for the fact that most of us are not living in tribes in remote jungle areas. We are living in a fast paced, modern world, and as unfortunate as it is, many of the principles don't apply here. We don't have a tribe of elders to teach our kids survival skills, we don't have a tribe of other mothers to step in when we're sick or the kid has been up all night, and we don't have a tribe of other parents looking out for our kid when they wander off into the woods.

Anyhow, I wouldn't hurt yourself trying to get a copy. It's okay, but I think there are a lot better natural parenting/instinctual parenting/attachment parenting books out there.
post #5 of 57
Thread Starter 
So how do TCC, attachment parenting and consenual parenting mostly differ and where are they the same?

I don't know where to start with the continuum concept. I think I have been very child-focused, I guess it came from changing my life around for the baby? I was a very attached mommy from the start, she was always in arms or in a sling. I guess I just learned to drop everything for her needs and that has been fine and I thought it was working like it should. I get compliments from strangers about how well-behaved she is, how sweet and friendly she is and I guess I just thought that the demanding stuff was just toddler stuff. But if it's not then I want to do what I can to change my behavior for all of our best interest. I don't want to raise a me-me daughter and I don't want to be child-centered if there is a better way to be doing things.

Sorry if that was disjointed!
post #6 of 57
FYI, Dr. Sears started his career with a 'guidebook' to the Continuum Concept. Apparently it sucks, but it was the start of his Attachment Parenting crusade. Basically, he stole JL's ideas (and screwed them up, IMO).

There is a TCC tribal thread in this forum as well. I'll see if I can find and bump it up for you.
post #7 of 57
FWIW, my journey starts with TCC for the babies and moves on to Consensual Living as they get older and they become better able to express their needs and wants with words, if that makes sense.

In other words, as babies I wear them in the sling all the time, co-sleep, breastfeed, etc. As toddlers they work next to me, but as they start getting interests that are different from mine, I work on saying yes as much as I can and finding consensual solutions when I just can't say yes.

I see them as very compatible philosophies.

As far as attachment parenting goes, that started from TCC. I have the first Sears book, its title is "Creative Parenting: How to use the new continuum concept to raise children successfully from birth to adolescence." It is now out of print, but I bought it second hand b/c I wanted to see if he ever gives Liedloff any credit. He gives her none. It's like he just created the idea of "the new continuum concept" out of thin air.

Be that as it may, he certainly brought an idea that seemed far-fetched at the time and introduced it in a much more mainstream-friendly way. I owe The Baby Book and Mothering Magazine a huge debt of gratitude for giving me the only support I could find when my conditioning came up against my instincts

So TCC is where Attachment Parenting came from, and I see Consensual Living as an extension of those.
post #8 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I totally agree with the points listed on the above link. That part of the book I thought was good, although nothing you couldn't get in any pro-attachment parenting book.
I have read many pro-attachment books, but none so far have expressed the benefit of not being child-centered to the child, family and community, which TCC does and very well from the perspective of what is normal human development rather than what is 'best' and so on down the list of 'options', imo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
It's been several years since I've read it, but I seem to remember two areas in which the book lost my respect: One was this idea that trying to keep kids safe is hindering their development. Now, I think I get the general point she is making, and we are parents who let our kids use matches and axes and the like while under parental supervision. However, I am not cool with the whole "let them burn their hand on the fire once and they learn that fire is hot." When using the axe, we have a rule that our son must have shoes on. I'm not willing to let him hack his foot off just so he learns that you should be wearing shoes when you use an axe.

Second, there was a bit of a snotty attitude in the book about how if you aren't allowing your child total freedom that you are screwing up your kid. There didn't seem to be any sort of allowance for the fact that most of us are not living in tribes in remote jungle areas. We are living in a fast paced, modern world, and as unfortunate as it is, many of the principles don't apply here. We don't have a tribe of elders to teach our kids survival skills, we don't have a tribe of other mothers to step in when we're sick or the kid has been up all night, and we don't have a tribe of other parents looking out for our kid when they wander off into the woods.
Something that I've realised about my own response to books is that, given that they are well-written, well-researched and relevant, timing is everything because my life at that time is the context within which I understand what is being shared.

So saying, TCC came to my hands at precisely the right time for me to respond openly to the ideas and huge paradigm shifts that I've endeavoured to enact since reading it. My research had brought me to a place where I was primed for the information, so it was a seamless sort of incorporation into my mentality. Had I read it four years earlier, I'm not sure how it would have come across to me.

I honestly didn't find anything snotty at all in it, but I am also not very emotionally-driven (have no idea if you are or not) and enjoyed the academic treatment of the subjects she covered and the research she shared. Ironically, I am more intellectually-driven, but have been trimming that back as I allow my instinct to take it's proper place.

The other thing is that, like you, I won't be allowing my babies to hold large knives. In a tribal setting, babies receive an inordinate amount of information relating to the activities of their people. My children see me use a knife a few times each day. The older three are just now learning how to use bush knives, and have had blunt, dull butter knives for food since they were 18 months old. The lack of incidental information through passive learning means that I do have safeguards and limits to what my dc can handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
So how do TCC, attachment parenting and consenual parenting mostly differ and where are they the same?

I don't know where to start with the continuum concept. I think I have been very child-focused, I guess it came from changing my life around for the baby? I was a very attached mommy from the start, she was always in arms or in a sling. I guess I just learned to drop everything for her needs and that has been fine and I thought it was working like it should. I get compliments from strangers about how well-behaved she is, how sweet and friendly she is and I guess I just thought that the demanding stuff was just toddler stuff. But if it's not then I want to do what I can to change my behavior for all of our best interest. I don't want to raise a me-me daughter and I don't want to be child-centered if there is a better way to be doing things.
This was me and I am still in transition. I cannot figure out how to function without community, mothering four children in the ways that I believe are beneficial and natural to all of us. How can we do this alone?

Our life is so non-mainstream that even people who support our way of life consider us pioneers and trail-blazers (how odd since we just want to live like human beings and it seems the road is a long way back...). That's a lonely place to be. We are trying to find like-minded folk, which is how we've met supportive people, but it is hard to find truly willing people.

I enjoyed the book immensely and found that many missing pieces of my own puzzle were found and filled in.
post #9 of 57
Has anyone read Connection Parenting? I just saw it was recommended on the TCC listserv.
post #10 of 57
I certainly value TCC's anthropological presentation of parenting and feel that my ancestors certainly may have possessed more common sense and instinct about how they parented. I'm glad I read it, and I think it was a very important reminder of how we don't need all the materialistic baby things so prevalent today- but I also believe there is a reason why we have moved from tribal living to smaller family units (the ability to express individuality & have more personal autonomy, and not be stuck in superstitions or "this is the way its always been done", for starters). If I remember correctly the thing I disliked about TCC was a sense of "how can we recreate the conditions of our tribal counterparts", which left me feeling frustrated- I would prefer to integrate compassionate parenting practices in the society I am a part of- and a constant reference to the theory of evolution, often cited as a force behind why TCC was important (its part of our evolutionary makeup, if we stray from it we stray from the human blueprint kinda idea). I believe in a Creator and I would rather look to how God treats me as a guide for how to treat my children, rather than to how my ancestors treated them, although I certainly value their experience and obvious wisdom as presented in the book.
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma_unlimited View Post
I certainly value TCC's anthropological presentation of parenting and feel that my ancestors certainly may have possessed more common sense and instinct about how they parented. I'm glad I read it, and I think it was a very important reminder of how we don't need all the materialistic baby things so prevalent today- but I also believe there is a reason why we have moved from tribal living to smaller family units (the ability to express individuality & have more personal autonomy, and not be stuck in superstitions or "this is the way its always been done", for starters). If I remember correctly the thing I disliked about TCC was a sense of "how can we recreate the conditions of our tribal counterparts", which left me feeling frustrated- I would prefer to integrate compassionate parenting practices in the society I am a part of- and a constant reference to the theory of evolution, often cited as a force behind why TCC was important (its part of our evolutionary makeup, if we stray from it we stray from the human blueprint kinda idea). I believe in a Creator and I would rather look to how God treats me as a guide for how to treat my children, rather than to how my ancestors treated them, although I certainly value their experience and obvious wisdom as presented in the book.
Mama, holy can of worms!

I agree that there is a reason why we have abandoned tribal life, but I am not even close to convinced that it is a beneficial reason. Throughout history, every society that prized individuality over community and independence over interdependence has fallen.

Before that happens, though, each individual has already lost so much of what it means to be human. It's interesting that many think the way to the expression of individuality is through independence, but I think that is a stage intended and best left for toddlerhood. IMO, true expression of individuality comes in community and not apart from it or at the cost of it. Community is hindered by and only superficially attained in massive groups of people. There was a study that showed that as the number of people increases in a group, the tendency toward assimilation and requirements through rule-making increases. I think the maximum number of people for retained self-expression and communal decision-making as opposed to rule-making and following was something like 60 people. I wish I could find that study...

It is argued that with more people, obviously rule-making and following is necessary or there'd be chaos, but this supports the need for people to live in small communities to retain self-expression and well-being! It's like a farmer saying that obviously if he's going to keep a million cows, they can't be humanely slaughtered, as a a defense for the way he treats his animals. The solution is fewer animals- only as many as he can treat with compassion and respect, and not one more, and certainly not nearly a million more!

I also think that in terms of how society actually functions in north america,
we are a far cry from eschewing superstitions and 'this is how it's done'. I can make a gigantic list of examples of commonly held and expected beliefs in superstition and its cousin, 'this is how it is done.' I typically call this 'mainstream' and it is not an expression of anything even resembling individuality and personal autonomy.

Being a dissenter from mainstream culture, I am very aware of just how limited this culture is in its acceptance of self-expression and even interdependence, which is the fruit of a maturation past independence.

In TCC, there is a reference to a young man who took his hand drum and went up to a hill. He then proceeded to howl and whoop like a maniac, in glee. His expression was allowed and accepted as human. From other references in the book, it is very clear that this particular tribe's life was not regulated in self-expression the way our so-called 'free' society is. Try doing that in your backyard in the city and see what happens!

Our self-expression and freedoms are severely limited by the threat of ostracisation and all of what that entails, which wasn't even an issue with the Yequana people and not for lack of acceptance, but for the acceptance of the whole person.

I am also curious about how you've concluded that this present north american culture and society is formed with family units. The divorce rate itself should indicate that the possibility of sustaining healthy family life in this culture is at least severely limited and at best a severe challenge.

Indeed we have so much independence that anyone who bands together can easily persuade individuals (ironically looking to one another for affirmation of that independence). I've never met a mainstreamer who doesn't believe that s/he is living freely, and yet from where I stand, the prison of these people has been easily erected in their own heads by groups of people banded together to promote their cause or intentions- not individuals. We do not have freedom when we are all islands, we just have a lot more borders- one around each individual instead of one around all of us together.

I don't know how to re-create tribal culture, but each step I've taken toward a more communal, more consciously human way of life, the greater my personal freedom has been, and the more opportunity there has been for self-expression, amongst a community, not amongst a bunch of individuality-seekers. What could I even offer or receive from such a person, if that person really and truly lives the ideals of individualism? Nothing. We have no basis for commonality that allows for any exchange at all.

I also think it's interesting how many people think they live freely but defer to the government and para-governmental agencies for their maintenance and well-being.

BTW, I also believe in a Creator and look to Him for how to love others. I cannot even fathom any of what was presented in TCC as being in opposition to the way He would have us behave and live, however we came to be as we are presently. If our needs are as JL presented, then they are, and whether or not she believes that came about through evolution or you believe it came about on one day, it is as it is, and we still must meet the needs of one another, which of course can only happen in community, which is why so many people are without their needs being met presently, imo.

Please take what I have written as coming with kindness. If it seems curt, it's because I am tending four boys while writing and I am very passionate about this aspect of human life, not angry or elitist or any such thing as has been assumed about me when expressing this in the past.
post #12 of 57
Quote:
I cannot even fathom any of what was presented in TCC as being in opposition to the way He would have us behave and live, however we came to be as we are presently. If our needs are as JL presented, then they are, and whether or not she believes that came about through evolution or you believe it came about on one day, it is as it is, and we still must meet the needs of one another, which of course can only happen in community, which is why so many people are without their needs being met presently, imo.
I am not saying I think TCC and "the way God would have us behave and live" are in fact in opposition; I just resented the recurring theme that our evolutionary history should be a primary factor in determining our parenting style... I guess I resent the idea that I should have to copy other people instead of having my intuition and conscience guide me. I kind of feel the same way about diet; I love the work of Weston Price, but I am not going to try to eat blood or crustaceans because its how healthy humans lived before; I feel that I can use some of that wisdom to complement my own instincts.

Nor do I disagree with the idea of "community", I just don't feel like returning to tribal living patterns as the only way to HAVE that community.

I don't believe independence and individuality cause the breakdown of society, I believe selfishness and greed do. There have been great humanitarians who were independent thinkers, visionaries motivated by compassion.
post #13 of 57
well, I really, really believe in "the continuum" of human instinct, and I believe that I have seen it over and over again with ds.
Of all his little pals (we finally created a semi-tribal enviroment after years of trying!), ds has the most physical skills, and has the most healthy attitude toward work, and I believe a lot of this is from our continuum-based parenting.
Of course we never let ds get seriously injured! However, we did trust to his instinct most of the time, and we were rewarded with a very sturdy, self-confident little fellow who has hardly ever had any "accidents", and no major injuries. By not instilling fear, we have allowed his natural skills to develop.
Just my 2 cents...
post #14 of 57
Boy am I glad about this thread being here! I was slogging through the tribe one, and it seemed to disintegrate a bit into "what's better, consensual living or TCC and are they the same or different"

Preggie, I could have posted just about everything you said. My only question is, how does TCC work after toddlerhood? I'm curious to know how you have been able to apply it to older children and what results you got.

I am also looking for a community to mimic at least some aspects of tribal living. I also realize that some adjustments have to be made in order to accommodate our more isolated existence... I keep telling DH we're going to move to the jungle and live naked in the trees. It's hard though! I feel like I have to find people who understand the concept enough so they don't bring 'negative' influence into my kid's life. How do you find people who are like-minded enough? People who aren't afraid to challenge the mainstream? I'm poking around at church, but I get discouraged sometimes as soon as I hear someone's birth story... Or their reaction to my birth plan

Anyone have good suggestions for forming a 'tribe'? I was thinking about dinner and babysitting co-ops to start out with, but I just don't know how to find the right people without shoving the book down their throats!
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma_unlimited View Post
I am not saying I think TCC and "the way God would have us behave and live" are in fact in opposition; I just resented the recurring theme that our evolutionary history should be a primary factor in determining our parenting style...
Understood. I think that regardless of what you believe about origins, though, of course it wouldn't make sense to have your parenting method determined. To me, a more cohesive perspective might be that from our origin, we have had this development and that need and this is how we've traditionally fulfilled that need. To figure out what traditional means, though, we'd have to go further than just to some western version of what has become common, to something more wholistic- like tribal or clan culture.

Keep in mind too that the idea of 'parenting style' is pretty modern. Previously it would have been part of life without the truncation and labeling. There would not a 'parenting style' when bearing children in the midst of life in a village just flowed smoothly from the womb to death.

Quote:
Originally Posted by momma_unlimited View Post
I guess I resent the idea that I should have to copy other people instead of having my intuition and conscience guide me. I kind of feel the same way about diet; I love the work of Weston Price, but I am not going to try to eat blood or crustaceans because its how healthy humans lived before; I feel that I can use some of that wisdom to complement my own instincts.
Right, but tribes differ quite significantly in their choices and ways of life too. The determinant factor in whether or not they are healthy is whether or not they are thriving and prospering in well-being. I think that contemporary western culture has the appearance of well-being but under the very thin facade is a black rot that goes deeper than mold. Just my opinion, of course.

I wonder if we have adequately similar definitions of the words we're using to actually discuss this...

For instance, you wrote that you want to follow your own instincts, but to my way of understanding, those instincts are common to every human being who has not suppressed and maybe subsequently lost them. That is what instinct is to me, at its core, the survival mechanisms and related strategies for meeting the need for survival. Each species seems to have a set that is common amongst fellows. I don't think human beings each come with individualised instincts, set apart from those of every other human being, maybe sharing some with others, but naturally occurring as a unique set. The very idea of this is absurd, actually, if you try to work out how we'd function if that were the case. This is why I wonder about our words; I cannot see how your use of the word 'instinct' could be the same as my understanding of what it is.

I guess the same is true for autonomy, individual, expression, community, conscience, wisdom, etc... It's hard to have a casual discussion about this topic- origins and anthropology without definitions at least agreed upon, even if our interpretations remain different.

Also 'tradition' isn't the same thing as copying; it is transmitting, through culturally enjoyed avenues, the experiences of those who have already lived a full life. If you were just copying in order to achieve the same outcome of tribal living, then I wouldn't expect you to be successful in attaining well-being for you and your family and community. It has to be much deeper than an appearance. It isn't 'eat shellfish because they ate shellfish, don't speak upon returning from an absence' etc... This is just form without substance.

In order to truly benefit from a return to tribal mentality, you would have to have that mentality intact, which means that approaching it from a place of intending to 'copy' isn't adequate, and it is highly doubtful that JL would think it could be, given her anthropological studies. I certainly don't think that makes any sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by momma_unlimited View Post
Nor do I disagree with the idea of "community", I just don't feel like returning to tribal living patterns as the only way to HAVE that community.
What is a community to you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by momma_unlimited View Post
I don't believe independence and individuality cause the breakdown of society, I believe selfishness and greed do. There have been great humanitarians who were independent thinkers, visionaries motivated by compassion.
Those humanitarians are known to you only because they were not individuality-seekers. By definition, a humanitarian must work with others in interdependence. Otherwise, they'd just be 'successful', but not humanitarian. Maybe you have someone in particular in mind. It's difficult to generalise here.

Regarding independent thinkers, this is a different thing than someone who seeks independence as a highest virtue. The ultimate irony is that those who refuse to mature to interdependence or cannot, often prize independence while themselves being part of a large group all thinking and living the same way and gaining their approval for doing so from those others who do the same. It's sort of like highschool teenagers who all want to be unique and in doing so, all dress, speak, gesture, entertain themselves, and aspire to, the very same.

From my experience, an independent thinker is not at all the same person who is independent. All of the 'independent-thinkers' I've read and known understood and sought after like-minded interdependence.

Interdependence is the only real way to transmit anything of value to a society. Our present society is very appearance rich and substance-poor. When I work through any societal lack scenario from beginning to end, it always concludes on a lack of interdependence, which is key to survival, and no matter how it's figured, ultimately, regardless of how sweetly, purposefully, consciously we live, survival as human beings is at the core of everything. It doesn't seem as dire or immediate as the connotations of survival imply, but it really is just that.

BTW, selfishness and greed don't work in a tribal setting, so even attempting such behaviours as that indicate a selfish intention would be quickly ended. Private struggles with these would persist, no doubt, but they would remain constrained by the tolerance of the whole group, which would be little given the need for sharing and reliance. Only in a society that prizes independence can selfishness and greed even take hold and actually affect the whole population!

Again with the passion. Thank you for not taking offense.
post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mormontreehugger View Post
My only question is, how does TCC work after toddlerhood? I'm curious to know how you have been able to apply it to older children and what results you got.
A few weeks ago we were having lunch with friends. One of them is an organic (non-industrial- just local and just what she and her dh can do on their own) farmer and the other comes from a farming family, having grown up on a farm. I was talking to my farmer friend about my garden. After about twenty minutes, my other friend said, "Boy, after hearing you two talking about growing a garden, I wouldn't even guess that I grew up on one!" I asked her what she meant. She was under the impression that I had lots of experience, and already knew that our farmer friend does, obviously. I laughed and told her that this is my very first garden ever and that the only things I ever saw my mother grow were rhubarb, cauliflower and hot peppers. She was stunned and said, "But you know so much about it. How's that possible? Books?" I told her that I don't have book knowledge about it but that since we moved here 8 months ago, I have been watching the forest around us. As the season turned to spring, I observed everything changing and learned how things grow in the wild and then when I planted my garden, I tried to emulate what I saw happening naturally. So far, my garden is doing very well.

All this to say that whatever I seem to know, I might only know in hypothesis or philosophy or might be just in the midst of learning, like trying to live like a human being.

My eldest will be six years old next week. The three who are not toddlers are slowly being incorporated into our daily chores and we are trying to make our chores more relevant to real life. We have few people who are interested in village life, but where we live presently, there is a large group of who have come here to return to nature, so there is some hope that we'll find some others who would like to do this together.

One of the most obvious changes that I've seen has been in not talking as much. I've stopped intellectualizing things that ought to be instinctual as often as I am aware of it, that is. For my dc, this has meant that they have become more observant and more aware of their environment. I don't look at them to see where they are and they have become like the Yequana children are described. They follow me and don't fall behind. I slow down if they fall, and I don't go to them if they are hurt. I thought that would cause insecurity, but the opposite has happened. They come when they can't manage their own reactions and sometimes they don't come at all. If they do, I am ready to help them, but overall, they have begun to even help one another and cheerfully join me with a story about what just happened and who did what.

It has been unnerving to feel so negligent in their care. I am used to tending them completely and this past half year has been a strange inconsistency of over-tending, under-tending and balance. The fruit is so obvious though, that I have to also learn to deal with my own emotional reaction to feeling negligent, because my boys are doing very well- thriving actually.

My greatest challenges have been dealing with an underlying health condition that causes low energy while trying to do meaningful work that our boys can do too, and trying to make friendships with people who don't constantly insult our children (albeit unknowingly or unintentionally, but our boys pick up the condescension and it's hard to explain to them why people treat them this way) and who want to live in our natural habitat.

Oh, and we do live naked in the trees some days! : Well, just the boys. I still wear clothing consistently.

Quote:
Anyone have good suggestions for forming a 'tribe'? I was thinking about dinner and babysitting co-ops to start out with, but I just don't know how to find the right people without shoving the book down their throats!
I don't know either. We want to start buying our food at farm gate and local farmer's market exclusively. There are lots of people who homestead at these places selling their extras and their artworks and crafts. We figure this might be a place to start. We live in a very friendly place, and it is easy to just start conversations here with people we don't know. Next week we're going to just drive to the area we want to live in- where we hope to buy land- and we hope to just see people outside so we can talk to them. We figure this is a good selection method. People who are doing outside work in the woodsy rural areas who are friendly and willing to share what they know; a good start, we think.

I'm interested in what others do too.
post #17 of 57
Very well said, Preggie!

Mormontreehugger, I see that you're in CA. I would guess that would be a good place to find other TCC'ers. If you join the listserv, you can access the database and find anyone who might be close to you, or know of other families who might live close to you.
post #18 of 57
Quote:
I am also looking for a community to mimic at least some aspects of tribal living. I also realize that some adjustments have to be made in order to accommodate our more isolated existence... I keep telling DH we're going to move to the jungle and live naked in the trees. It's hard though! I feel like I have to find people who understand the concept enough so they don't bring 'negative' influence into my kid's life. How do you find people who are like-minded enough? People who aren't afraid to challenge the mainstream? I'm poking around at church, but I get discouraged sometimes as soon as I hear someone's birth story... Or their reaction to my birth plan

Anyone have good suggestions for forming a 'tribe'? I was thinking about dinner and babysitting co-ops to start out with, but I just don't know how to find the right people without shoving the book down their throats!
Although admittedly I am not necessarily trying to form a "tribe", I *do* want a mutual support system of likeminded individuals- and the only way I have found that has been by meditating, praying, asking for the individuals I need and who need me to be introduced into my life. It has worked... I don't have very many "friends", but those I do have I feel so close to, we would drop anything for each other and we give to each other generously and selflessly. And there is never any sense of inferiority or superiority about our mothering practices or our children's behaviour.

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To me, a more cohesive perspective might be that from our origin, we have had this development and that need and this is how we've traditionally fulfilled that need. To figure out what traditional means, though, we'd have to go further than just to some western version of what has become common, to something more wholistic- like tribal or clan culture.
Ok Preggiemomma, I'll say it- Steiner's philosphy has really enriched my life. So, I believe in reincarnation; I believe I chose to be born into my present culture specifically because I had both something to contribute and something to gain from being born here and now, and while anthropology is inspirational and important, the expression of my true destiny is found in creatively, meaningfully integrating my existence within its present context, so feeling that I have to "recreate" an earlier cultural scenario is foreign to me (I am satisfied with the idea I have probably already lived through several tribal experiences), although I am comfortable combing through "tradition" and practicing those things which resonate with me. Perhaps your life and mine are not so different (I live out in the middle of nowhere with a humongous garden for a playground and my kiddos run naked a lot too), but the philosophy which shapes our worldview is?

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I think that contemporary western culture has the appearance of well-being but under the very thin facade is a black rot that goes deeper than mold. Just my opinion, of course.
I don't find it useful to think of my culture in that light; it's not that I disagree with you, but that I prefer to focus on humanity's potential, on how I can draw out the best in others... To think of everyone around me as diseased in some way makes *me* feel dirty. To think of myself as a light that radiates as brightly as possible so that those around me become bright as well, fills me with energy.

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For instance, you wrote that you want to follow your own instincts, but to my way of understanding, those instincts are common to every human being who has not suppressed and maybe subsequently lost them. That is what instinct is to me, at its core, the survival mechanisms and related strategies for meeting the need for survival. Each species seems to have a set that is common amongst fellows. I don't think human beings each come with individualised instincts, set apart from those of every other human being, maybe sharing some with others, but naturally occurring as a unique set. The very idea of this is absurd, actually, if you try to work out how we'd function if that were the case. This is why I wonder about our words; I cannot see how your use of the word 'instinct' could be the same as my understanding of what it is.
When I referred to instinct, I was referring to DIET- and I do believe people hav very different instincts here. For instance, my husband instinctively prefers meat and root veggies- and it does him well. I instinctively prefer raw dairy, whole grains, and leafy vegetables- and it does me well.

In regards to mothering, I mentioned "intuition & conscience"- and this is more individual, I believe, than "instinct".

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In order to truly benefit from a return to tribal mentality, you would have to have that mentality intact, which means that approaching it from a place of intending to 'copy' isn't adequate, and it is highly doubtful that JL would think it could be, given her anthropological studies. I certainly don't think that makes any sense.
Good point.

To me, community has different scales; I just enjoyed my first small town festival and it was worlds away from any big city "neighborhood event". It seemed the whole town gathered in the main square, even being new I still saw many familiar faces and everyone felt safe and comfortable with small kids running around (not toddlers) unattended, and smiles for everyone. To me, that was a sense of community. On a smaller scale, I know everyone on my road and as neighbors, we consistently take care of each other (share veggies, share milk, share advice, share farm equipment). That is a community to me. When one of us is going to town we ask "do you need anything while I'm there?" And on the even smaller level, La Leche League is a community. So is mothering.com; I have learned a lot more here from wiser women than I would with any gathering of people in my locality.

As I said, I really embrace Steiner's philosphies and another mother and I are getting together once a week to do Waldorf inspired activities and seasonal festival celebration together; we are considering opening this up to other interested mothers. This too, would be "community" to me.

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Interdependence is the only real way to transmit anything of value to a society. Our present society is very appearance rich and substance-poor. When I work through any societal lack scenario from beginning to end, it always concludes on a lack of interdependence, which is key to survival, and no matter how it's figured, ultimately, regardless of how sweetly, purposefully, consciously we live, survival as human beings is at the core of everything. It doesn't seem as dire or immediate as the connotations of survival imply, but it really is just that.
I'm just somewhere on another page, striving for self-sufficiency, zero waste, and supporting my local economy. In my experience, moving away from (read: having very little dependence on) my parents has been the best thing that ever happened for my personal growth, my marriage, my mothering... and the women in my family are not that many generations removed from a more tribal island life so I fail to see how the common thread of worry, superstition, and matriarchal authority would have improved my life had I been right along with them 4 generations ago. ???
post #19 of 57
Loving this and want to hear more!
post #20 of 57
I just want to tell about a recent "continuum moment" in my life: Last night, after soothing the 4-year-old who was bitterly disappointed when he awakened from a late nap to discover that it was almost dark outside and therefore too late to go to the playground, my whole family decided to go into our back yard and enjoy the fragrance of the honeysuckle. Our back yard has a flat portion and then drops off at a steeper-than-45-degree slope with trees and rocks. The yellow-and-white honeysuckle is abundant on the side fence, but the orange honeysuckle we just planted last year is a small cluster about 5 feet down the slope. My son wanted to smell both kinds up close to see if they smell different. It was quite dark under the trees; my partner had illuminated our walk into the yard with his keychain LED light, which goes out after 20 seconds to save the batteries and takes a couple seconds to reset.

So it was alarming when our 4-year-old started climbing down the very steep slope with this lighting that made him periodically unable to see anything. I, who have fallen down the slope before, was tempted to yell, "Stop! That's too dangerous!" But he looked so sure of what he was doing that the only thing I said was, "Don't lean on THAT bush because it's dead and will break." He got down to the orange honeysuckle, leaned over to sniff it, and came back up, without a single slip or stumble.
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