Becoming the adults we needed as kids

Becoming the adults we needed as kids

Last week during our staff retreat, seated around the living room in our Airbnb in Las Vegas, the Presencia team and I began the work of digging up deep-seated beliefs and rethinking them.

It was urgent work.

We'd already been convinced to move from punishment to relationship-based discipline. The science is clear, our experience with at-risk children points this direction, and each of us feel a hunger to be the adult we needed when we were little.

But each of our brains developed in a culture of fear, shame, and pain. Each of us had memories of needing support and getting punishment instead. We all remembered moments when our pain was forbidden instead of explored and healed.

I felt the joy of watching recognition in faces as we held new ideas in place of old ones, saw our childhoods in new light, and understood the pain of people in our lives.

Learning how to support the emotions of children isn't just about learning new information and procedures. It's about doing our own work to become people who respond to distress with love.

We can't do this rewiring by reading a book or taking a class. We have to do it interpersonally, in community, in the flow of real life.

We brainstormed how we were going to bring these concepts into our everyday work, and we set direction for our culture moving forward. We made plans to share our thoughts and experience with parents in our community so we could support children to thrive earlier, even in the womb.

We have a team that is young, motivated, and filled with insight. We're eager to renew our work and become the people we needed when we were younger.

But for these ideas and energy to translate into lived experience in our neighborhood, we need a community around us that sees what we're trying to do, believes in us, and supports this transformative work to go forward.

Are you part of that community? Would you like to be? There's a link below to set up a donation if you want to join us that way. If you have other ideas, please feel free to contact me at I'd love to hear from you.

Ian North
Co-founder, Development Director

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