Climate Change. Racism. The Coronavirus Pandemic. There is so much at stake in the 2020 election—for parents and for all of us. In Season 3 of Parenting for the Future, we examine what these issues will mean for the world that our children will live in today, after November 3, and beyond.
Dear PFTF Friends,
Season 2 of Parenting for the Future comes to an end today. And what a season!
This podcast was launched to help parents understand two things – the phenomena that have
and will shape the world in which their children will come of age and the science and strategies
for raising their children to find their own voices so that they can thrive and shape that world in
their unique way.
Our conversations have therefore explored climate change, sustainability, gender violence and
racial bias; LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights; education and the roots and some of the impacts of
systemic racism. We have dissected grit, failure, life admin and anxiety; we’ve shared blueprints
for raising truly successful adults who can lead themselves, lead others and lead change. We
have talked of the importance of mindfulness and selfcare and the power of books to shape a
life. And we learned how to triage our lives to survive COVID-19.
While we could not have predicted the confluence of events this season – a global pandemic,
the Antiracist Movement, political divisions – that have laid bare and are upending an
inequitable world order, they have made PFTF more relevant than ever.
Season 3 returns this fall. And with a presidential election in the US, we will explore and inform
one of the greatest powers we all have to shape the future for our children – our vote!
But we end this season in conversation with legendary chocolatier, Jacques Torres, whose grit,
grace and great chocolate remind us that there is always reason to smile, to be optimistic, to
savor the simple and powerful pleasure of being alive.
Wishing you and yours a safe, happy, and healthy summer. See you in the fall!
Petal and the PFTF crew
Pride Month is in full swing. It is a time for the world’s LGBTQ+ communities and their allies to come together to celebrate the many battles they have won to be accepted for who they are and to be treated equally under the law.
But pride month is also a time to reflect upon, a time to take stock of the work still to be done in furtherance of equality. It was only a mere, few days ago, that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay and trans people cannot be discriminated against at work. And, as a recent Business Insider article pointed out:
- Homosexuality is still illegal in 35% of UN member states;
- Fewer than 30 countries around the world recognize same-sex marriage;
- 68 countries still criminalize homosexuality and in dozens of countries, same-sex acts carry the death penalty; and
- Just 19 countries allow transgender people to serve openly in the Armed Forces.
So, as we continue to grapple with the death and economic devastation of COVID-19; as the Anti-racism movement surges, we must also take action – at the ballot box, on our school boards, in our neighborhoods and places of worship, workplaces, and in our homes – to stand up for the dignity and freedom of the LGBTQ+ community. For in standing up for them, we stand up for the dignity of all people. And we ensure a future where all our children inherit a world in which humanity and empathy trump hate.
Listen to my conversation on parenting transgender children with one of my heroes, Mimi Lemay, International Advocate for Transgender Youth and author of “What we will become: A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation.
Here are other resources for you and children as we continue to celebrate Pride Month.
- “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” by Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno
- “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” by Michael Hall .
- “Lovely,” by Jess Hong
- “Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families,” by Laura Purdie Salas and Stephanie Fizer Coleman
- “Introducing Teddy,” by Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson
- “Peanut Goes for the Gold,” by Jonathan van Ness and Gillian Reid
- “It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity,” by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni
- “When Aidan Became a Brother,” by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita
- “BunnyBear,” by Andrea J. Loney and Carmen Saldaña
- “Harriet Gets Carried Away,” by Jessie Sima
I have spent many hours over the past few days in tears, holding my children, grappling with feelings of utter despair and wondering if the well of optimism, having sustained black people for hundreds of years through the most vile and unfathomable evils, is finally not deep enough or wide enough to sustain another generation. How can I not despair when the legal structures, enacted to keep everyone safe, fail to see me as part of “everyone” and instead of keeping me safe, buries its knee in my neck? In my neck and in the neck of everyone who looks like me—choking out our collective humanity, our dignity, our voice, our breath?
And it is not just these past few days that make me despair. It is all the days on which someone or some group is violated, vilified, mistreated or killed because of the color of their skin; because of who they love; because of who they worship; because of their gender or gender identity; because of their abilities; because of their social status; because they are too young or too weak to speak for themselves.
But in the midst of despair, I also have hope. I have hope when I see the thousands and thousands of people—of all colors and orientations and abilities and religions and nationalities—who seem awakened to the fact that the modern world has been built on the false notion of white supremacy; a notion developed and spread to excuse the perpetration of the worst exploitations of non-white peoples, for centuries depriving them of their humanity.
I have hope when I hear them all demand that their countries and cities hold mirrors up to themselves. I have hope when I see so many people brave the virus and the fear and uncertainty of our time to stand up for all human life and dignity. I have hope when I see the social media feeds of tweens and teens, vowing that they will not tolerate injustice, even if the adults in their lives have.
Parenting for the Future helps parents understand all the structures and forces – old and new – that have shaped our world and will shape the future. And it helps parents use their knowledge to strengthen and reinforce the structures that benefit the world and dismantle those that don’t.
Each of us has more power than we know. By simply being intentional about the decisions we make every day: to speak or be silent; how to treat the person with whom we have nothing in common; where we spend our money; how we support those on the frontlines of positive change. We can create a world where all of our children have a real chance to thrive, to be happy, to make their unique impact.
I invite you to listen to my conversation with one of the people making those decisions on the global scale: Chidiogo Akunyili, the founder of She ROARS (Reimagining Our Africa Rising), which empowers women across Africa to unleash their full potential and that of the continent. Chidiogo has been one of the sources of my hope the past few weeks.
I also want to encourage you to read these pieces sent to me by some of you:
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice (Equality Includes You)
20 Books That Have Changed the Way We Think About Race in America (Inside Hook)
U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism (Harvard Business Review)
Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom: A Resource for Educators (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
Thank you for your continued support.
In love and solidarity,
Beginning in the 17th century and continuing for the next 200 years, untold millions of Africans were kidnapped, shipped across the Atlantic under abominable conditions, violently tortured, brutally dehumanized and enslaved. Slavery created extraordinary wealth and prosperity for America so it was imperative for those who benefited to legitimize and defend this vile institution. To do so, they touted and expanded the myth about the inferiority of black people. And this myth endured long after the abolition of slavery. Instead of compensating emancipated slaves for the theft of their labor, lives, dignity, family bonds and humanity so they could have the means to chart their own course, the lives of former slaves were shaped by the federal, state and local governmental actors who rejected or circumvented the law to maintain the racial hierarchy created by slavery; a hierarchy designed to reinforce that myth.
Racially segregated housing, which until the last quarter of the 20th century was imposed across America through explicit public policy, is, according to Richard Rothstein, my guest this week, a relic of slavery whose effects continue to endure. And indeed the enormous wealth gap between white and black Americans, the digital divide, even the disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths among African Americans can be traced directly to segregated housing. I hope you will find the episode insightful and inspiring.
Parenting For The Future also suggests:
Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition by Katherine Franke
Roots by Alex Haley
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
Teaching Tolerance: How white parents should talk to their young kids about race. (Slate)
The pathology of American racism is making the pathology of the coronavirus worse (Washington Post)
‘A perfect storm’: poverty and race add to Covid-19 toll in US deep south (The Guardian)
Locked Out of the Virtual Classroom: The coronavirus pandemic has forced a nationwide reckoning with the lack of internet connectivity and devices for students. (New York Times)