Raffi's Child Honouring course: Parenting for a Better World
One morning not long ago, I was about to attempt to fix a clogged drain in my shower. With minimal enthusiasm for that task, however, I opted to check my Instagram messages before starting. Much to my surprise, I had received a note from Raffi Cavoukian, otherwise known as Raffi. He was once called "the most popular children's singer in the English-Speaking world" (source: Washington Post). My child serenades me with his "Baby Beluga" song daily. Yeah, reading his message beat unclogging the drain by a long shot.
In his message, he graciously asked that I consider taking his course from the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring.
I didn't know much about the course going into it, but I expected it would be good if it had his name on it. Frankly, however, for the affordable price compared to many gentle parenting certification programs, I wondered if the content would have enough depth. Still, I was intrigued. I signed up on the spot.
Let me cut to the chase.
It blew me away. Here's the short version of why it did. (I'll gladly provide the long version to anyone who's interested.)
I didn't drop the "I've read 50 books" line above to impress you with my reading skills. I share it because I'm no stranger to research. Honestly, I've had to cobble together a whole lot of information from a broad range of resources to solidify the parenting philosophies about which I write. I study because I care not only about my own child, but also about every single child on the planet. I passionately want the world to care for them well. That means you. And me. All of us.
Raffi's Child Honouring course positively thrilled my brain. It offers so much rock solid content from so many highly reputable sources! The course had me at Dr. Gordon Neufield; and the myriad of other sources like him are equally impressive. It even includes relevant TED Talks, such as this one by Raffi himself. These are just at the tip of this wonderful iceberg of knowledge.
One particular TED Talk about the importance of community building was so moving it made me tear up, and I don't cry easily.
The way the information is presented is entirely engaging. With respect to every online training module I've taken in 25 years of professional experience, this was the best format I've seen. The evidence-based content was spot on. It included exactly the right amount of depth for each topic. If I wanted to learn more, additional resources were available. Moreover, the formats in which the course presents the information vary in the most delightful way. It doesn't allow for "zoning out"---and I had no desire to do so, regardless.
I'd gladly trade many of the best parenting books I've read for this single, comprehensive course. I don't suggest that lightly.
The course covers the following Child Honouring principles:
These principles stem from Raffi's Covenant for Honouring Children.
Of course I realize that everything in the world impacts our children. It has to. Still, I confess that previously, certain concepts hadn't naturally dovetailed into my gentle parenting mindset as a writer and change maker. For example, I'd not spent much time thinking about the organization of corporate leadership as it relates to our children's daily lives. His course spelled out the connection in an incredibly thought provoking way. More than just spelling it out, though, the course tells us what we can do about it. I feel immense gratitude to Raffi and his team of experts for including such comprehensive and incredibly pertinent content.
I want to be clear that this course is not just for people like me. Sure, I'm a parenting writer and a mother. However, the course is also for moms who aren't parenting writers. And dads. And educators and businesspeople. In short, I'd suggest it for everyone who breathes air. We all contribute to the world of children.
If you've read anything I've written elsewhere, you know I write about that which speaks to my heart---even topics that some would say are taboo for a gentle parenting writer (for instance, my articles about racism, homelessness, and global sustainability). Raffi's course is not a parenting course about how to change diapers. This is a course about how to change the world. It spoke to my heart strongly.
Raffi's Child Honouring course covers many of the topics that really matter. Within the modules I noted above, you'll hear about kids and the media (a hot topic for sure!), how to change that which has become "standard" in society even when it's to the detriment of future generations, and so much more of the real work of changing life for the better. The information isn't purely cerebral; it's downright practical and actionable.
I like to think of myself as a very socially conscious person. Even so, wow---I have some areas to develop in my own life. This is hard, personal work that involves changing habits, and in some cases, habits we didn't even realize we had. This course lit a fire in my belly to live differently. To live better. I'm different than I was prior to taking it; I'd like to think, better.
This was entirely unexpected, but when I mentioned to my six year old that I was going to take an online class about parenting (I simplified it for her), she asked if she could take it with me. Now, our family is very light on screen usage, and even more so for my child.
My inclination was to say no because of that, but then I asked myself, "Should a child know about Child Honouring?" Of course she should. So, we paced our viewing to an hour or so, every
other day. I watched some of the content I wasn't sure would be age appropriate on my own time. The parts she did watch, she loved. She asked for more.
One of the most surprising things that came of it was the depth of some of the discussions we had after watching the videos together. We've covered all the topics before, but the course was the impetus for her really internalizing some of the concepts. Case in point: we're a pretty environmentally conscious family. Still, after her birthday, she passionately insisted that we save the streamers from her party to use again another year "...because Raffi said it's important to reuse things whenever possible and not throw them away." (She must've forgotten that we'd already used the streamers for her two prior birthdays, but still, I was impressed.)
It's a tricky balance trying to model respect for all parents, but it's also important that I plant the seeds for her to become a change maker, herself. I love the discussions that are coming out of having involved her.
Children deserve to know how they should expect to be treated.
You can sign up for Raffi's Child Honouring course here. I want to be clear: I get nothing from this. It's not an affiliate link. I simply see a need for the world to internalize his critically important messages, so I'm sharing my thoughts here in this forum.
Throughout much of the training, I caught myself thinking, "The world needs more of Raffi." As I continued to reflect on that, however, I realized something different. More than needing more Raffi, the world needs parents, caregivers, and entire communities to commit themselves to living the messages he shares in this course. Imagine a world that's better not only for his influence, but even more so, for your influence, as you embody the Child Honouring principles---and model them for the next generation.
After all, we're parenting for a better world, aren't we?
If you've read about my pumpkin spice muffins, you'll know I'm all about gluten-free and healthy recipes that taste like their non-healthy versions. I won't skimp on flavor just to get in some health points; I want to enjoy what I'm eating. So, I decided to expand my healthy muffin recipes and create gluten-free zucchini bread, too---full of magical nutrition, of course. Bust mostly, I want flavor. I want YUM. This gluten-free zucchini bread (or muffins if you prefer) are no exception to my rule. They're nearly a perfect breakfast food for us and we love them.
Zucchini offers incredible health benefits such as vitamins B6, C, and K; folate, fiber, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. Still, I confess I never considered gluten-free zucchini muffins a viable breakfast option. I wrongly assumed I wouldn't want a vegetable all mixed up in my morning; I saved them for my dinner plate. (I love being wrong sometimes!)
I had to experiment a bit with gluten-free flours because I was tested as having "borderline" celiac disease, and I know I'm sensitive to gluten. I want to give my body every fighting chance it has to be as healthy as possible. As a result, I follow a gluten-free diet and take special care to find healthy recipes items that are specifically labeled gluten-free. People with celiac disease should absolutely and always use gluten-free flours, such as garbanzo/chickpea flour, almond flour, coconut flour, and many of the other alternatives out there (afflinks). And that said, presuming you don't have celiac disease, you could certainly use standard wheat flour in this recipe if that's your preference.
What This Recipe Doesn't Have
Prep time is about 10 minutes.
garbanzo flour I mentioned above would work well, as would a garbanzo/fava mixture.)
Optional: Substitute pumpkin spice for cinnamon and nutmeg. Just use the same quantity as the recipe calls for. if you don't want to add the nutmeg and cinnamon separately or want a slightly different flavor in your loaves, you can substitute pumpkin pie spice. Just use the same quantity as the recipe calls for, for the others.
Once they're cool, some people like to add a vegan or greek yogurt to the top for some extra health benefits for their gluten-free zucchini bread. My daughter calls it "frosting," so it's a win.
I haven't experimented with mini-muffins since I use a regular-sized muffin tin; the one I use bakes 12 muffins at a time. I needed two muffin tins since I had enough batter for about four extra gluten-free zucchini muffins beyond the 12 my first pan would allow.
It works as a bread or as muffins. A healthy recipe like this can come in all shapes and sizes---we've even baked loaves in a heart-shaped baking dish!
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Sarah R. Moore is an internationally published writer and the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. She’s currently worldschooling her family. Her glass is half full.