Every generation pioneers a new phase in humanity. The baby you’re raising will be part of a generation that will see and do things differently than anyone ever has before. As their parents, you’ll have a big say over what your baby experiences, but the world will have just as great an influence. So muster up your pioneer spirit. It’s going to be interesting.
Several events in recent weeks have brought the concept of pioneering home:
- I was at a screening of Oprah’s Lifeclass for the OWN channel a couple of weeks ago in New York at Radio City Music Hall. Tony Robbins (author, life coach and host of a new television show called Breakthrough,) shared the stage with Oprah and something he said has stayed with me ever since: “Every life is either a warning or an example.” Robbins spent the next hour talking about how to be an example, break through your fears and recreate your life story.
That concept of warning versus inspiration applies to everyone, but more so to new parents than almost anyone else. The way you model your life and raise your child makes the difference between being the family, parent and child who warn others what not to do or the family that models inspiration. As you raise the next generation of pioneers, ask yourself if your daily choices are creating the family you want? That’s what pioneers do – day by day.
- I recently spoke to Abigail Disney, executive producer of Women, War and Peace, (a series presented on PBS) about her upcoming projects. She mentioned a new documentary she produced that’s premiering this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, called Sexy Baby. Here’s the synopsis:
In the age of runaway social media and "sexting," raunchy rap songs on pop radio and hardcore pornography at the click of a mouse—what's it like to be a woman? A girl? A teenage boy? A parent? Following a former porn star, a young woman undergoing a controversial surgery, and a 12-year-old girl who's growing up faster than her parents can handle, Sexy Baby is a startling look at the first generation to grow up [in the digital age].
As the mother of an adolescent daughter, I found the storyline about the 12-year-old girl to be heartbreaking. This little girl calls herself a pioneer because she’s among the first generation to grow up with sex everywhere – in her music, on her TV and computer…everywhere.
Who knows what digital and social challenges your child will grow up with. It’s hard to believe they’ll face overt sexuality before they’re old enough, but they will…they definitely will. That is unless you keep the radio, television and computer turned off, and that’s probably not going to happen. You’ll be the pioneer parents who learn by trial and error how to balance between teaching your children how to live in a rapidly changing digital world and protecting them with old-fashioned common sense. Bottom line – the world may have changed because of technology, but kids really haven’t.
- In another pioneering conversation this week, I spoke with Julie Lamb, MD, an OB-GYN who specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Lamb is among the pioneers of women’s health using rapidly changing Star Wars technology to help women all over the world. Her passion for helping women with infertility was sparked in the least technologically advanced place on earth. While studying International Women’s Health on a Fulbright scholarship in Zimbabwe, she worked in a burn unit with women who had lit themselves on fire because they were infertile. When she returned to the United States, she found her professional home at Pacific Northwest Fertility in Seattle. Their donor egg program is dramatically upping the odds of parenthood for women facing life threatening illnesses, older women and others with extreme circumstances.
My own commitment to pioneering comes via my involvement with CARE (my favorite global humanitarian organization) and their focus on girls and women. While many of their programs are decidedly old school, CARE’s slant at alleviating extreme poverty by promoting basic rights, education, healthcare and opportunities for women is part of a pioneer movement dubbed The Girl Effect. Using some of the digital generation’s best tools including social networking and film, combined with good old fashioned person-to-person networking, we’re the generation that’s recognizing that women - mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, grandmothers, businesswomen, teachers, politicians, doctors…(I could go a long way here) – are changing the world. We’re bringing our families, friends and communities along for the journey and exploring uncharted territories.
As a new parent that’s raising the next generation of pioneers, all you have to do is decide: Will you be a warning or an inspiration? No pressure, right?
Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future blog post.
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