Democracy in the Real World
I am wandering around my house, making piles of my belongings, with Peter, Paul & Mary's classic "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" playing in my head. On Monday afternoon, I will climb aboard a British Airways jet and wing my way to Cairo. Yes, the one in Egypt, the land of pyramids and the River Nile.
It is also, it turns out the land of Montessori schools and Positive Discipline, and I have been invited to train the staff at Trillium - the Montessori House school, to give an all-day parenting workshop at the City Stars Hotel, and to train some remarkable women who have managed to learn Positive Discipline without ever meeting a "live" facilitator. I will be their first experience with that; let's hope it's a good one!
What is remarkable to me is that Positive Discipline, the approach to parenting and teaching created by Jane Nelsen and a host of colleagues, and based on the work of Alfred Adler, is sometimes called "democratic parenting" (as opposed to authoritarian or permissive parenting). And in case you haven't noticed, Egypt has been wrestling with the birth of democracy in a long-time authoritarian culture. The women who have invited me see this as a reflection in the home and school of the changes taking place politically and culturally in their country. There is great interest in this work; I have been receiving emails on a daily basis and feel as though I'm flying to meet old friends. It is also both moving and sobering to be traveling to a part of the world where there has been such struggle and conflict in the name of democracy and equal rights, and where change is so raw and new.
Democracy, by the way, looks a bit different when we're talking about parenting. It doesn't mean that children are equal to parents, or that everyone gets a vote. That would quickly become anarchy, I suspect. Instead, it means that everyone in the family--and every human being--is worthy of dignity and respect. Positive Discipline teaches that we get a much better result when we avoid shame, humiliation, control, and punishment, and instead focus on connection, teaching, encouragement, and respect. And yes, we follow through when necessary.
Over the coming two weeks, I hope to post blogs about my adventure in Egypt. I also plan to post photos and updates on my "Parenting with Cheryl Erwin" Facebook page. Stay tuned, and send me your prayers and support. And hey, I'll say hi to King Tut for you!
| Posted by cheryl | Friday, March 9, 2012|