Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Biggest Parenting and Spirituality Issue at ParentsConnect

ParentsConnect.com is a website for parents to give advice to one another. It is sponsored by Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. The conversation is very wholesome, friendly, and more diverse religiously and ethnically than you might anticipate. It is also overwhelmingly by and for moms, as anyone who reads parenting advice would expect.

Since our main issue at the Gruntled Center is faith and family, I looked at the Spiritual Matters section; as a sociologist I was especially drawn to the Family Faith Practices heading. Each section consists of discussion threads started by a parent, and runs as long as the readers have something they want to say. I was interested in what the longest thread would be of parents' concerns in raising religious kids. And the winner is:

"When soccer takes over family faith practices."

The conversation among the moms is sensible and sincere. Some have found no-Sunday leagues. One Jewish mom doesn't have that option; her kids do play regularly on the Sabbath, but she draws the line at the High Holy Days. One particularly determined family reported that if their kids missed a service due to a game, they listened to a recording (podcast?) of the service on the way home.

As this topic makes clear, the ParentsConnect parents are mostly middle class. As a rule, they seem to be married, earnest, and flexible. They are good people to turn to for advice – the writers are like the readers, with a little more experience and an interesting idea or two. It is strangely charming to join in the conversation of people busily engaged in the happy and hectic business of raising children, something they clearly love.

ParentsConnect parents are not every parent. They are, though, the kind of families that give you hope for a new generation of carefully raised children.


Judy Stone said...

The timing of this topic is perfect for the new book I am reading. It is HOME TEAM ADVANTAGE: the critical role of mothers in youth sports. The writer has a chapter on this very issue--balancing sports with family. She has the solution--it is in our (moms) hands. I bet if we all read this chapter and apply her ideas we can create the balance. Anyways, I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

We were not able to have our son participate in youth basketball because all of the city teams had most of the practices and games on Sunday mornings! We've also had to be firm with baseball coaches who wish to schedule baseball practice on Sunday mornings. Sometimes it seems as though we are the only people who go to church around here!