With the influx of discussion on effective parenting on blogs and news outlets across the country, many have tried to pin-point what the best approach is to raising a child successfully would be: some say stern rules and regulations, others note that liberty and freedom in child rearing produces well balanced results. While the course of action taken is solely to the discretion of the parent, what I find to be most effective method is the impact of communal parenting.
Communal parenting evokes the sentiment of the age-old adage "it takes a village to raise a child" and explores the ancestral African roots of an entire community of "investors" (aunts, uncles, sisters, parents, neighbors, etc.) taking responsibility for the life and welfare of the children in the community. Adrienne Lance Lucas, Principal and COO of Inheritance Capital Group and co-founder of the Kids Entrepreneurs Need Opportunities (KENO) Micro-Loan Fund has embraced and made the communal parenting impact work to her benefit. "Parenting has been a fantastic experience," Lucas explains, "but of course it has its challenges. Raising a young son isn't an easy task. I would never be able to do what I do without the people around me." Lucas, who was one of five children, has only one son, Keno. Lucas has used the communal parenting process to foster excellence and a sense of communal responsibility in her son.
"When Keno was 3 years old, he was fascinated with money and debit cards. He enjoyed drawing and we wanted to find a way to help him combine his two favorite pastimes: money and art. We created a website for him to sell his artwork at $5 apiece. It was then he became captivated by entrepreneurship."
Now at age 12, Keno runs a nonprofit organization that teaches kids about entrepreneurship, money management, business planning and the like. The KENO Micro-Fund (named after him), is hosting a Youth Entrepreneur Week November 13-19 in Atlanta, GA where kids will have the opportunity to win micro-loans for their business ideas and participate in conversations with businesses owners across the globe in conjunction with Global Entrepreneur Week.
Lucas attributes her son's success to not just direct parenting, but the communal efforts of friends, families, men and women in the community who have a stake in seeing her son succeed. Although now raising her son as a single parent, Lucas notes that single parenting doesn't limit her abilities to parent successfully. "There's this social stigma that single parent homes can't do just as good of a job as two-parent homes, but that's far from the truth. When the community steps up to ensure that every child in every household is accounted for, we have a greater chance of success for our children."
Tapping into the shared effort to raise our children is vitally important; with the recent news of Amber Cole, a 14-year-old who was filmed performing sexual acts on a young male, we are in desperate need for a shift in the way we engage in the lives of our children. Of course, every household is responsible for instilling core values and principles that produce good citizens, and the full responsibility of parenting falls on the parent, but when we all become invested in the welfare of our children we are creating a community where they can be productive, safe, and successful. "We must have a community of people to rely on -- don't be afraid to ask for help or expect those around you to have a vested interest in your child. When one child does well, we all win."
To learn more about The KENO Fund, visit www.kenofund.org.