What does faithful parenting look like, under today’s apocalyptic climate threat, when hope can feel elusive?
We want to raise children accountable to the large but finite population of lifeforms sharing our planet. We need to “skill up” our children as voters, scientists, organizers, and consumers devoted to climate justice. Most importantly, by nurturing resilient, compassionate children, we strengthen the coming generations to steer this ship, Earth, and perhaps build our own hope.
Those of us parenting in communities already feeling the pain know what to do when children’s exposure to harsh realities is inevitable: Build their hope. It’s an act of survival.
Here are parenting practices that can express our deeply held belief in connection across continents and species:
• Share age-appropriate, truthful information about climate events and suffering. If events raise fear in you, it is okay to let your child know; you are a model for how to hold difficult feelings.
• Tell stories of communities successfully mitigating climate-related harms with generosity, collaboration, and advocacy.
• As a family, join or create your own story in the place you live.
• Recycle more, use fossil fuel products less—and explain why you’re doing so.
• Keep planting. If possible, plant to eat. A real-life source-to-table experience helps children understand interconnection.
• Encourage children’s encounters with the natural world. There is always hope outside.