It’s About Time, for Children!

It’s about time we value and care for the richness in the lives of children. That we seek to identify, unleash, and support the inherent capacity of individuals and communities.

As our society is growing increasingly diverse and inter-connected, we face many questions about how to ensure the healthy development of all children from all backgrounds and in varying circumstances. If we do not work together to ensure that all children are receiving their assets, we risk falling into the common pattern of focusing all resources on only children who are most vulnerable (or children who turn up for events).

This community that we are trying to build can be an important bridge in our own society, and even in others. By recognizing and nurturing a shared commitment to young children, we have to potential not only to enrich the development of young children from all backgrounds and in many life circumstances, but also to weave together a strong society that makes it a priority to ensure that all children, regardless of their background as valued and can thrive.

We have the potential to ensure that all children are valued and thrive. We must however be mindful that developmental attentiveness in communicates cannot be programmed or controlled. Our attentiveness comes from passion and commitment. We do not work by prescriptive models with specific formulas. We (together with children) are engaged in a process of design and discover as we flow, learn from our experiences, adjust and adapt our efforts, and repetition. We look to connect with other communities with shared interests to gather ideas and strategies that they can also adapt and implement.

We emphasize on engaging multiple socializing systems – from individuals to informal networks to major organizations. We seek to recognize and actively engage not only community leaders, but also other adults and children from all walks of life as co-creators of our attentive community.

With such diversity in play, this can however surface difference in ideas, power, and other conflicts in the community. Only through sustained, respectful dialogue can people and organizations build social trust and reach a shared meaning about our attentive community around which we can work together.

“Beyond the influence of parents and other adults int heir own families most young people do not enjoy the kinds of supportive, caring relationships with other adults (first-order community effects) that could significantly improve their well-being. Nor are there enough linkages among adults in young people’s lives (second-order effects) to make it normal for adults to have deeper relationships with young people and connections with other adults in young people’s lives.”

– Peter Scales Other People’s Kids: Social Expectations and American Adults’ Involvement with Children and Adolescents (The Search Institute Series on Developmentally Attentive Community and Society)

We therefore need to stimulate commitment, passion, and energy at multiple levels. Relationships, norms, values and priorities within the community, families, and organizations need to be re-aligned in accordance with our shared vision and commitment.

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