By Janaiah Von Hassel
In the article from the latest Pathways, “Beyond Baby Wearing,” Ann Christina Michelsen introduces the Continuum Concept, which presents a more tribal-like parenting lifestyle to an already established Westernized society. This parenting style insists that, while the parents should be available as needed, the children should not be the center of attention. Instead, an inherent trust should exist in every child’s ability to self-preserve. The fear associated with a parent’s mentality that they need to “keep an eye” on their child develops from an underlying thought process that your child cannot learn on his/her own. Ultimately, this mindset can add insult to injury to a developing mind that must learn to set its own parameters of safety. In Continuum conditions, without any external pressure to comply, children naturally learn to emulate the ways of life established by those around them.
In the Yekuana Tribe, this Continuum Concept works because there is no age segregation or isolation. Children adapt from one stage of life to the next without being forced to learn what doesn’t resonate with their understanding, ability or desire.
Michelsen suggests to make use of extended family living in close proximity and to learn the art of homeschooling, or other alternative schooling – including, “un-schooling” or schools that are not segregated by age. She emphasizes the importance of community outreach which has helped many find their tribe by reminding us to be comfortable with ourselves and others as a prerequisite to a Continuum lifestyle.
How do we create our tribe?
Many of us have opened our minds to include baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping as important for our infant’s needs. But how, as our children grow, can we carry on with the ideals of the Continuum Concept? How can we provide our children with the necessary atmosphere that forges the type of independence and authenticity we desire for our children while living in a western culture?
When it comes to finding a tribe, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes by an unknown author, “If you can’t find a way, create one!”
For me, starting a Pathways Connect Gathering at my chiropractor’s office was my first step in creating a tribe. This has allowed me to continue the Continuum parenting lifestyle as my boys grew older. The Pathways Connect tribe of trusted, like-minded individuals gifted my family with a whole new level of independence and free expression.
The friendships I have made over the past two years have allowed me to depend and be depended on in a profound way. While it began as monthly workshops at our chiropractor’s office, organically it grew into more than just a group. Now we provide each other with unwavering support; the kind of community we had only dreamt of before, has become a reality. My children’s friends within our gatherings range in age from newborn to 16 years old.
The effects of my own little tribe
Attachment parenting came second nature to me, but my intentions of creating a more independent child, through always being available to him, began to backfire. By the time my oldest son was four years old, he was dubbed a child with “separation anxiety.” My son, like myself, was longing for a tribal atmosphere that would allow him a comfortable transition into a more independent stage of his life. That’s what the Pathways Connect Gathering created for us. We didn’t have to do “drop-offs” or create unnatural experiences that would force him to face his fears. Instead, as he made friends that were older and had more freedoms, he began to beg to be “allowed” to separate.
While we still enjoyed our monthly workshops, we began meeting at each other’s houses or at community events. My friends and I would joke that we got together to “parallel work.” While our children played, we made busy with our jobs in the home, or for some of us, our work-at-home careers.
Some of the children attend public schools, some are involved in a home school co-op, and others attend alternative schooling. These differences have not hindered our tribe—it continues to grow stronger every day. I believe this type of connectedness, support and natural progression, without age segregation, (our parents range from 20’s-60’s) gives our children the environment necessary to become independent, well adapted children.
If you feel a calling to create a tribe in your community, ask your chiropractor or holistic practitioner to open their facility for you to unite with those who share your values, inspire your greatness and empower your journey.
Be the spark that sets the world on fire.
Interested in joining a Pathways Connect group? Find a group local to you here: http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/directory/
Start your own Pathways Connect Group: http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/item/pathways-connect-practitioners.html
Janaiah von Hassel, CEO of Kiro Kidz, is a proud mother of two young boys, Landon and Corbin, who she happily nurtures alongside her husband, Matthew. Janaiah turned to chiropractic after receiving her son’s autism diagnosis and, in doing so, discovered that her entire family benefited from care. In her desire to spread the word, she has found great fulfillment in her work with Dr. Todd Defayette on the creation and development of Kiro Kidz. This animated children’s book tells an exciting tale of the benefits of chiropractic care.