Friday, September 17, 2010

Humane Education

As parents, we all want to raise children who are respectful, responsible, and who demonstrate integrity and commitment to the issues of our time. Perhaps as holistic-minded parents, this is even more compelling as we strive to live a conscious lifestyle that respects life and sustainability through everyday choices. This past week we hosted Zoe Weil and the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) at our weekly Twitter party at #holisticmoms and the conversation got all of us thinking about what it means to raise kind kids.

Zoe Weil, president of IHE and author of Above All, Be Kind and Most Good, Least Harm recognized that young children can be empowered to create positive change with simple tools and guidance. Her MOGO Club model helps children to build communities emphasizing personal actions that youth can embrace to cope with the overwhelming challenges facing our society and planet. We can engage our children in the same kind of community that we build through Holistic Moms by connecting them around the issues that demand action and positive change. Kids can organize to create an organic, community garden; start a local recycling program; or fundraise to help those in need in their neighborhoods.

IHE offers educators (and parents) a wonderful list of activities that "explore and connect issues of compassion, justice, and sustainability for a variety of ages." Children can discover the beauty of nature, begin to understand their ecological footprint, analyze waste streams, or develop critical thinking skills to decipher marketing strategies using IHE's free online tools. Even busy parents can incorporate humane education tools into their daily life. A special section offering exercises for "Human Education in Minutes" will get both you and your kids thinking about their purpose and the world around them.

Holistic parenting, like humane education, raises awareness about connectedness and how our choices impact others and the planet. We applaud Ms. Weil and IHE for their forward-thinking and passionate commitment to positive, humane education. We hope you will take time out to explore IHE and their many resources and share them with your kids!

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