Tuesday 28 November 2006

About this blog

This blog is a record of - and I hope the start of a debate with others about - our efforts to bring our children up in ways which do not bow to the prevailing culture. Hence counter cultural.

There are both negative and positive reasons for this. The positive are more important to me, but likely to be more individual; the negative I imagine may be shared by many other parents, so I will start there.

The negative reasons are simply that there is much in the prevailing culture which is not good for children - nor for the rest of society.

A few graphic examples of this are:

The recent report suggesting that many young men commit street crime for kicks;
The extent and growth of casual sexual promiscuity among the young, with the attendant problems of sexually transmitted disease, early abortions and emotional/psychological trauma;
The growing drug and gang culture.

Time and again I come across parents who do not like some aspect of their children's behaviour, but who feel resigned to it: 'It's what all their friends are like, so what can I do?'

This blog is for parents who wonder if there is anything to be done, and if so what.

It will recount some of our experiences raising our four children (Antoinette 16, Bernie 13, Charlie 10 and Dominique 8), comment on the experience of other parents we know, and provide a lot of provocative (in the sense of thought-provoking) ideas for others to think about - and, I hope, respond to.

So how do you raise counter-cultural kids?

Here's a few things we do that may be at variance with societal norms:

We sit together as a family for our meals
We go for walks together on a regular basis
We don't have a TV
We read to the smaller children every night - a book worth reading
We allow our kids to take a lot of risks (at the physical level) such as climbing trees, exploring the local countryside unsupervised, and taking up exciting hobbies and sports (rock climbing, sailing, etc)
We don't allow our kids to hang around in shopping centres or go to sleep-overs or parties where we don't know and trust the parents concerned
We try to ensure our kids have a lot of fun - more than their peers
We don't buy them much stuff
We encourage them to pursue interests like music seriously
We (their parents) love each other and are committed to staying together no matter what...
We pray together every day

Which brings me to the positive reason for being counter cultural: we want our kids to grow up in our Faith, as informed, intelligent, confident and brave adults. If you've got this far and are suddenly disappointed to find I'm just a religious nutter, don't give up - much of this blog may still be of interest.

More on many of these themes will follow.