being there

November 22, 2011

community work

As a parent educator, I facilitate quite a few parenting workshops throughout the year. Some I have written, some are off-the-shelf.

Workshops about positive parenting. Workshops about the importance of play, and getting ready for school, and keeping children safe.

Every now and again, I get a group that just gels. On average, once a year, I get a group like this. A group of people that feels comfortable and safe about participating and asking lots of questions and challenging me.

People that don’t mind telling me that they think I’m crazy when I suggest a particular technique but have enough confidence or courage to go home and try it, and report back to the group how it worked for them.

A group of people that comprises individuals who are really struggling with certain aspects of their parenting whether it is difficult partners or having their child removed or yelling too much or feeling like they can’t do much more of the same lest they go insane. And they share how they are feeling and reach out for help and support.

The past six weeks, I have had such a group. People who squeezed out every ounce of experience and knowledge that I have and asked for more.

This challenges me and I love it. It makes me a better practitioner. I feel like I have been like a parent to the group, attempting to be the bigger, stronger, wiser, and kinder parent (Circle of Security) to the group so they may be the same for their children.

I admire that they are willing to work so hard on building their skills as parents so they may enjoy this important work more. Brave people who tell their mothers and partners and friends that it’s ok to do a parenting workshop, that it’s not an admission of guilt or a sign of weakness.

It’s also been a tricky time for me as my step-father died six weeks ago, and I have been trying to support my mother who is 1000 kilometers away. Parents may worry about their children when they are young, but I think it’s true to say that the children worry about their parents as they get older.

I’m running my final workshop for the year this week, and then it’s the downhill run to all of the end-of-year community events, and my own children’s end-of-year activities.

I hope you are managing to stay well and fulfilled as we head towards the end of the year.


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About hakea

groupworker, parent educator, therapist, mother of three boys.

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16 Comments on “being there”

  1. Santo D'Agostino Says:

    Very sorry to hear about the passing of your step-father, hakea.

    Bless you for all the good work you do, for your family, for your community, and for your workshop attendees!


  2. InsideJourneys Says:

    This is beautiful, Narelle – the giving and the sharing. I love it! Sounds like this group supported you as you dealt with your own grief. My condolences to you and your family on the loss of such an important person.


  3. InsideJourneys Says:

    Oh, I forgot: I meant to say something about the title of your post, being there. Those two little words say a lot and mean so much.


    • hakea Says:

      Yeah, you’re right.

      I would very much like for Mum to move closer. But her memories of her life with Bob are in that place, at the moment. All I can do is “be there” for her.


  4. michaelwatsonvt Says:

    I imagine the parents with who you work appreciate your appreciation of them, and use that to trust you enough to take considerable risks. Reading your thoughts, I am curious to know how you became committed to witnessing the strengths and determination of your families. I also wonder whether your colleagues applaud this, or whether you find yourself swimming upstream like your client families.

    As an aging parent, I know I both reassure my kids I am OK, and feel comforted by it, even when they are far away.



    • hakea Says:

      Hi Michael

      I wish I could come to you for clinical supervision!

      My masters degree was all about being strengths and solutions focused, and process driven. And, of course, being in the land of Michael White, paying attention to people’s narratives.

      I’m fortunate that the organisation I work for runs on a community development model, and we ‘walk with’ people from cradle to grave.

      Thank you for your kind words.


  5. Yulia Says:

    My parents and my parents in law, all of them stay in different country with us. So far we only communicate by phone, unless when we go back to our home country and visit them. You are a very good daughter, Hakea. And I am so sorry to hear about your father.


    • hakea Says:

      Hi Yulia

      I find it very difficult especially as my mum does not have a mobile phone or computer. You must find the same.

      Blessings to you and your family.


  6. Team Oyeniyi Says:

    I am sorry for your loss. I hope your mother is working through it and I am sure you are a wonderful support to her, despite the miles.


    • hakea Says:

      Hi Robyn

      Some months along, and my Mum is finding her feet mainly through the kindness of neighbours. I still find myself saying over the phone “are you eating ok?”.


  7. countingducks Says:

    This sounds such a positive and rewarding experience, if a bit tiring. Very nice to read about


  8. ElizOF Says:

    First of, I’m sorry to read about your step-dad… my condolences to you and your mom. I do hope she is doing well.. and you too. I was wondering why I hadn’t gotten a post from you in a while. Sending you a virtual hug… I have been adjusting to a changed schedule in my life, so I haven’t been commenting at all. Glad to comment again. Blessings to you!


  9. ElizOF Says:

    Stopped by to wish you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! Hope you are doing well dear sister Narelle…. Be blessed! 🙂


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