Friday, February 11, 2011

Can I help you create a virtual community of support?

Comment from reader: I have really looked to find other parents who believe in parenting from a conscious place and I’m just not sure they exist in my community. I know that finding others in person is the best plan, but what can I do to get support now? Any suggestions?

This is a really great question and one that I hear often from parents- moms and dads from every corner of the globe. Recently, I have received many requests for opportunities to connect with other like-minded parents. I personally have had much success finding support from online groups, as well as over the phone. When I didn’t have a strong local support for whatever I was dealing with OR I didn’t necessarily want to open up to someone I might run into next week at the grocery store, the computer seemed to be a great place to start to look for support.
2008 Consciously Parenting Retreat in St. Pete Beach, FL

A couple of years ago, a group of parents from around the world came together for a tele-class I taught. There was a mom from Australia and a mom from Oregon. Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, and Florida were also represented. Most had adopted children. All were interested in learning more about trauma - their child’s or their own - so they came together for that purpose. When the tele-class ended, no one wanted it to end. Even though I had no more curriculum ready to teach, I said that I would figure it out and offered to continue to open the space for them to come and discuss their challenges and ask their questions, so we continued to "meet" over the phone. After a little while, they learned to really listen to and support one another, and they each grew from being able to support someone else.  They had support when they needed it.  When I had a live retreat in 2008, all but one (who had recently lost her job) came from around the globe to meet one another - to meet these people they had never met in person before, but who had changed their lives forever.

That experience moved me. Who knew how powerful talking on the phone once every two weeks could be, along with a private space for questions and conversations in the meantime? And each of them grew in ways that they didn’t know they could. The each knew that no matter what they needed to bring up, they would have listeners who could hear what they needed to say without judgment. Isn’t that what we all want?  To be able to say what is really going on with us instead of just what we think someone else wants to hear?

So I’m considering starting another venture like the one I just mentioned, with parents who are wanting to come together and talk on the phone once every two weeks with opportunity for a private forum for discussions in between. I’m looking for a group no larger than 8 people who are wanting to learn how to apply the principles of Consciously Parenting to their lives. You’d need to be willing to take a look at what is going on in your home and to support others in doing the same from a place of love, honoring that everyone has their own journey. This group will be moderated and guided. If it would be easier to start with a class to have a basic foundation of information, I’m happy to do that, too. This group will be open to parents with children of any age, and families of any size, shape, or story as to how you became a family. The glue that holds us together is the fact that we are here to parent consciously and to look deeply at our stories. Tell me what you need and let’s figure out how to create it!

The cost of this venture will be minimal, at about $50/mo, which is less than one hour of consultation with me. A sliding scale is available if you have financial need.

What do you think? Would you find such a group helpful? If so, what appeals the most to you about it? If not, what would help you more?

Next week, I’ll be on my way to Cozumel, Mexico on the Consciously Parenting Project’s February cruise! I’m looking forward to some sun, and some time to play, relax, and connect with some of the most incredible families on the planet who are all excited about being warm for a few days! I’ll tell you all about it when I get back!

P.S. I’m also working on a more in-depth program for those who would like to dive in deep. This would involve training over the phone/internet monthly and two in-person groups in the Tampa/Clearwater area over about a year’s time. This would be perfect for those who are looking to really do some deep work themselves and/or for those who are professionals supporting other families in any capacity. Let me know if you’re interested in something like that, too!


Teri D said...

Hi Rebecca,

I think I'd be interested in this. I just have to work it into my schedule. As you formulate a plan, it'd be good to chat about it.

Teri DeMarco

samuela said...

I think I am interested, but I have the same problem as Teri, that is "when". I live in Italy, so a different time zone, and I often travel for business, in addition to the fact that I am very very busy. How long would the meeting last? how did you manage last time with people from different parts of the globe?

Rebecca Thompson, M.S., MFT said...

Samuela, Last time we took the people who were interested and sent emails back and forth until we had figured out a time that would work for all the time zones we needed to consider. It took us a while to come up with a time, but we did! I suspect that we'd do the same this time- ask what times would work for the most part for each person and then figure it all out. Previously, we found that a 90 minute time block every other week gave us plenty of time to really discuss the topics, along with the on-line group space to go in any time that worked for us individually. That said, I'm open to other ideas! What do you busy people think would work best for you?