Service as an Antidote to Privilege

communityservice   How many of you live in a place like we do (Silicon Valley) where there is so much money floating around that kids realities are skewed to believing that things like expensive European vacations, multimillion dollar homes and every opportunity known to human kind lies at their finger tips?  It’s great that the world is their oyster in a lot of ways, but the price of privilege, as Dr. Madeline Levine calls it, can be very high.

I believe that involving kids in service of all kinds can counteract the price of privilege.  From having friends of diverse backgrounds who live in less privileged places, feeding the hungry, growing a garden, caring for animals in the shelter, hammering nails in a home for a family in need, cleaning up the beach, spending time with a child in the hospital or an elderly person who loves the company of kids, tutoring a child who goes to a less resourced school, having discussions about inequality and making a difference, there are all kinds of ways that we can support our children growing up in privilege to have more perspective, compassion and value for putting their privilege to work in order to make a difference in their world.

As parents, what we do in our own lives and with our own educations has perhaps the biggest impact on our children’s sense of perspective and values growing up in an environment of privilege.

   “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

I have a commitment to using my own education as a means to transform some aspect of the world and I intend to shape the experiences of my daughters to do the same!

My years of teaching in inner city schools taught me that there is so much need right in our own backyards, the understanding of which has been intensely magnified by having my own children who have been born into such privilege, that daily my own desire and commitment to shaping my children’s hearts and minds to give back and to transform this world with all that they are given increases and multiplies.

I’d love to hear from other parents raising children in privileged communities – how are you supporting your children to use their prvilege and educations to transform our world?

Finding Purpose as a Mompreneur

Jen Harris with her family

Jen Harris with her family

When I was planning our wedding in 2008 I was looking for the perfect photographer. I knew I’d find the right person when I saw the right image with a balance of artistry, emotional charge and that years-in-an-album memorability. When a google search landed me at Jen Harris’ gallery of wedding photography images, I knew in my gut I had found our match.

We had a relatively small wedding photography budget and I figured someone who produced this level of beauty in her images would charge at the highest rates. Most photographers I had started to explore were charging $5000 and more for one day of wedding shooting.

I picked up the phone and called her. In minutes, she was telling me her own story as a Mompreneur, how she decided to pursue her passion for photography as a home based business when she fell in love with capturing images of her own children. Creating this business gave her the opportunity to be with her children as often as she wanted to. And, she added, it wasn’t really about making money (gasp!) as much as it was about providing a high quality, relationship-building service to people during one of the most important times of their lives. Her values of quality, service, artistry and relationships come through in all of her photos and in her business. Continue Reading