Parenting is an incredibly important responsibility and so we wanted to get a conversation going with input from parents in the community.  We asked them: what is the most important thing you’ve done as a parent?  We’ve highlighted some of the responses below.

Erica Curtis | Licences Marriage and Family Therapist, Board Certified Art Therapist

“Loved me,” is how my eleven-year-old answered this question. He’s probably right. Afterall, as a mental health professional I know the damage caused when children don’t feel loved. I can easily imagine super-highways of neural pathways forming in my own kids’ brains every time I hug them, draw with them, and set limits for them. But what is the most important thing I’ve done to show my children I love them? It was probably setting a simple intention to approach parenting like I would a painting. Encourage self-expression, balanced with limits. Invest in the outcome, but not too much. Make a plan and go with the flow. Step back and observe. Work with mistakes. Simplify. This has allowed me guiding principles that I return to again and again, regardless of what situation my children throw at me. And it is this approach that helps me consistently parent with love. So as not to leave them out, I also asked my eight- and five-year-old how they would answer the original question. Read more>>

Nadia Paredes Registered Art Therapist & LMFT | Arts for Wellness Educator and Mental Health Professional

Giving myself space to make art weekly, even if only 5 minutes, to work on my Mental and Emotional Wellbeing. Children learn by example, so I decided I need to behave in a way that is congruent with what I am aiming to teach him about health and self-love. Read more>>

Rebekah Tripp | Actor/Producer & Mom

As an artist, I think it’s extremely important that my child sees the work that I do in this world. I don’t have typical business hours but it’s always been important to me that if I’m going off to film something or to rehearse for a play, my daughter knows that I’m going to work; that I’m going to pursue my passion as well as my career. I believe that we, as parents, determine what our children perceive as ‘success’. I try to allow my daughter to see my successes and my struggles. We talk a lot about celebrating moments in our life that feel good. So when I recently booked a guest star on a television show, we celebrated it like crazy! Adversely, when I have to attempt to balance a self tape audition that comes through last minute, work my remote survival job, solo parent for the day, orchestrate her online virtual learning….she sees my struggle. We talk about that side of it too. I also try to be open with her about the impact that she makes on me. We pretend and imagine all day. She looks at the world through these incredibly fresh eyes with a perspective that is open and allows for permission of self; so much freedom to explore. Read more>>

Tamarah Angelique Logan | 4LOGANSRUN Lifestyle Blogger

As a parent the most important thing I’ve done to impact my children would have to be instilling in them tools that support Self-love and Self-acceptance. I’ve tried to teach them through my own actions and way of life, that we’re all human, no matter where we come from, what colour our skin is, what our religion is, our cultural beliefs, and that it doesn’t matter what clothes we wear,  where we live or the things we like to do, we are all human, and basically all want the same thing, love. They know, that loving themselves as they are, excepting all of themselves as they are, and not picking themselves apart, is the way to be, they’ve learned to see the good and not so good about themselves; they don’t have to like some of the things that they are or that they see, but they surely don’t have to hate themselves because of it! We are all human, perfectly flawed, imperfectly perfect. There’s always room for improvement as a human being, if you want to grow, move forward and change those things that you may not like about yourself it’s OK to do that, and it’s also OK not to! Teaching my kids the value of Self-love. Read more>>

Maia Suckle | Dance Academy Owner & Director

I have shown both my 17 year old daughter and my 15 year old son that two men are risk takers, leaders in our community, entrepreneurs, and loving moms all wrapped up in one. Read more>>

Lydia Kosinar | Psychotherapist

The most important thing that I have done as a parent in terms of the impact on my son is my emotional sobriety. In my emotional sobriety, I have learned the true meaning of self-care and self-love. The yoga studio that I attended pregnant and then when my son was an infant and began to walk was born was Two Hearts Yoga. They specialized in prenatal yoga and family yoga. The instructor is this amazing woman, Georgina, and she would say during each session “We love our kids and will do anything for them. Where we short change them is when we don’t take care of ourselves. When we take care of ourselves we are much more capable of taking care of those we love. This statement resonated with me but it was not until a few years later that I knew what she truly meant. My emotional sobriety has taught me to practice self-love and self-care from a non-egotistical perspective to serve the greater good of the universe. Through that process, I have been nicer to myself and more present with my son and other loved ones, friends, colleagues and clients. Read more>>

Scarlet Stoker | Fitness Instructor & Momma & Wife & Actor

The most important thing I think my husband and I have done for our son has been exposing him to the whole world in all the ways we can and being open with him about everything. He’s not even 3 yet and he eats chicken tikka masala and counts to 10 in Spanish. He shakes his hips while singing, “ice, ice baby,” and shouts, “C’mon Carson,” when we watch Eagles games. He picks oranges from the tree in our yard to eat and wants to share pieces with anyone around him. He knows his Uncle Dom has a boyfriend named Jessi, because they love each other like momma and daddy do. He loves Jock Jams radio on Pandora. He calls our cat and dog his sisters. He also thinks all of our friends were his friends first and we are lucky to have friends from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations and of different ages. We have always spoken to him like he’s a grownup and make him a part of the conversation. Sure, we simplify terms and make the subject matter more kid friendly at times, but we always tell him the truth. Earlier this year, with COVID and protests going on constantly, we would turn the news on and talk about things as a family. Read more>>

William Catling | Artist and University Professor

Raising two sons to become warrior poets was my goal. They have grown into men that combine strength and sensitivity, power and compassion, intensity and gentleness. I included them in art making and building and both have become skilled craftsmen. Read more>>

Brigit Ritchie | Founder + CEO of WE

I am a parent of two kids and I’m always learning about what are the real important things. If I had to narrow it down to one, I really feel being HUMAN is so key for my kids to see me in process and watch how I handle the ups and down, successes and failures, insecurities and confidence boosts etc. Being vulnerable with them creates real connection and helps me model how to navigate life in a complex world of working and parenting and trying to make a positive impact in the world. Read more>>

John Santos | Educator, Activist, Composer, Bandleader, Percussionist

To expose them to creativity and the arts, thereby giving them tools to think communally, lovingly, outside the box and critically. Read more>>

Rose Mailutha | Mother, Love Warrior, Designer and Maker

The most important thing I’ve done as a parent in terms of the impact on my child is really being present and practicing mindful parenting. My daughter is 10 years old, she is vibrant, smart, strong, creative, confident and has a passion for exploring different avenues of learning, self motivating and inspiring others. She was born this way, my only job was to nurture the old soul in her that knew exactly what made it joyful. I have grown so much as a human and as a mom because of her and my openness to growth and learning as situations presented themselves. I have had to keep checking my ego, you know that part of grown ups that thinks it knows everything, that children don’t know. I continuously strive to allow my daughter the space to emotionally and creatively express herself. I make time to engage and have meaningful conversations with her, I pray that I always find the teachable moments and execute with grace. Always being mindful to own my part, to acknowledge her feelings and to hear her, not listen but really hear her. Read more>>

Cameron Calderon | Contemporary Artist and Designer

I think showing your children that your passion can be your occupation is very important. It really gives them an “I can be anything I want” attitude, To see that happening every day at home is a huge confidence booster for them. Read more>>

Sonia McMoran | Small Business Owner

Parents often feel guilt when it comes to balancing work, personal needs, and their children’s needs. And while I think it’s near impossible to fully dampen that guilt, I’ve come to realize it’s extremely important to show children that you are more than their caregiver. You are also your own person, with hopes, dreams, fears, successes, and failures. Running Home/Work over the past six years has given me the opportunity to show my son the complexities of who I am, and I hope has led him to be more comfortable with his own feelings, ideas, wins and losses. Read more>>

Nyeesha Williams | Holistic Growth Specialist & Trauma Coach

Since having my first daughter as a teenage mother, working hard and hustling was all I knew how to do. In order to keep food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads; there was no other way to live. Up until my last child, my two daughters witnessed me getting up early to work for a company where I was not happy nor respected and then coming home living a lie. See, I had the money, I worked on Rodeo Drive, and I even had the cars and lavish trips. The truth of the matter was that my mental health and even physical health was deteriorating. I was living for everyone else and not myself, let alone being a great example for my two daughters. In terms of the impact on my children…I begin showing them that life is what you make it. There was no more working hard, yet working smart. There was no more saying “yes” to relationships and partnerships that didn’t serve me. Life was about living in my truth and living it unapologetically. I eventually quit my high paying job, I opened up my own business, I became a homeschooling mom (so that I can teach my children the importance of entrepreneurship and financial literacy), and I learned to not separate my work life and mom life. Read more>>

Melissa Vogel | Fitness Professional & Actress

Leading by example! Children are very “monkey see, monkey do” so from the moment my children were born it was important for me to be the their role model. I didn’t want them to have to look up to actors, singers, performers, etc for inspiration or motivation. I wanted to be that person. So for me staying the best shape of my life and showing them that taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally is key. When they see me showing up for me it teaches them self discipline early on as well as self love and confidence. Making yourself a priority isn’t selfish, it’s essential to be the best version of ourselves and to teach our children to to the same thing. Then you know you are raising confidence, strong, capable human beings. Read more>>

Khalil Kharraz | Actor /Fight Coordinator

Being present for my son give him the best education and I’m making sure to give him all the tools to succeed in his life. Read more>>

Radmila Lolly | Artist

1. I don’t think it was a choice, I could never fit in. When all the doors are closed, you open your own. 2. I truly believe everyone has a talent, it doesn’t have to an art form, it can be anything. I choose to voice my passions and be there for individuals when they need my support. I working towards impacting even more people. 3. You have to listen to your heart and intuition so that your risks becomes parts of your journey and you would get positive outcomes. 4. Do not stop, the moment you stop you fail; keep proceeding. It’s always hard to start but start with small goals and it would grow as your work progresses. 5. I don’t believe in giving up because it means I wasted my time. You can use those same skills to do something else, but never give up. 6. To be honest, balance is a very difficult state of mind for me. I personally cannot have a spare moment because I feel guilty and start to think I can be doing something towards my life goal. 7. Simple pleasures makes happy. That can be going to dinner with my friends, watching a Russian movie with my mom and playing with cat Mercy. Read more>>

Christina Flach | Creator/ CEO Pretty Girl Makeup & Celebrity Makeup Artist

I think the most important thing that I have done as a parent is setting the example I wanted my children to see by my actions not just my words. Our children see and remember everything we do during their informative years. We can tell them words all day long, but if we don’t show them the example of hard work, high morals, being respectful to everyone, not seeing us drinking or doing drugs and having a loving heart. Until my daughter Rose told me about a year ago that my lectures on drugs and alcohol were “lame”, which really surprised me, since I thought they were award winning after being the mother of 5 and 4 “bonus kids”, I truly thought I had my lectures down to an art. Clearly I was very wrong. She said the example I set, by my work ethic, my kindness to others and most importantly never seeing me drunk or high impacted her more then any lecture I had given over her. Read more>>

Nathan Hoerschelmann | Attorney

The most important duty, to me, as a parent is to prepare my children for life and how to engage with the world as a compassionate and positive force. That means provide them with the tools and guidance of how to best show up to the world. I thus ask my children to be three things: kind, curious and confident. I ask them to be kind and empathetic to their fellow man/woman. Whether they interact with people of different backgrounds, experiences or even opinions my children are asked to respond with a baseline of kindness and to put themselves in that person’s shoes. I have had long talks with my teenage son about what white privilege means and looks like. The question I asked my son is, “When we want to get food, what do we do?” “We just go get food,” he responded. “Exactly. We do not think about anything else. We do not worry about what we are wearing, worry about police, worry about our appearance, nothing. That freedom to do what we want, however we want, is what white privilege looks like.” It is also deeply important that my kids remain open and inquisitive about the world. Read more>>