When I was a child, my parents would tell me stories of their childhoods growing up in India. Living communally, in a compound with extended families, the children grew and played together while the adults shared together in the joys and tasks of daily life. Even as a child, I understood the power of community to enrich the life of the individual. I gather that it was a difficult time, making life happen with the resources available, but I also heard that it was easier and more enjoyable to have the community support.
As a new mother and then a new mother of two, with extended family far-flung, I felt keenly the draw towards finding a community, finding my “family.” I found a deep need to connect with other families, particularly those making some of the choices I was making and living off the beaten path, so to speak. What if I could create my own family, one that was focused on making life rather than making a living?
My thoughts and feelings turned to action, inspired by the support I found from friends turned "family," and A Living Family was born.
From my experience designing and teaching a middle school curricular program involving world cultures, I understood, on an more intellectual level, that the way we expect to grow, learn and live in the United States is not the only way. Some societies emphasize the individual’s identity, speedy progress, concrete results, and earliest convenience; other cultures highly value time spent building interconnected communities, encouraging children to play at their own work in their own time, puzzling through complex concepts cooperatively, and supporting healthy attachment from the earliest moments. I find most modern families fall all along a spectrum as we find our way through all the messages from history of peoples past.
A Living Family, as the logo symbolically represents, is circles of support, a focus on nurturing and a shared wisdom from the past to the present experience.
It is this past wisdom and present experience that nurtures and inspires the life of the community. Through mentoring, meetups and online media, A Living Family offers opportunties to ask, learn, and grow. The services, resources and support offered are intended to help families find a way to thrive.
Through A Living Family community and services, both online and local to the greater Philadelphia area, we hope to: