March is Parenting Awareness Month, and there are lots of events and activities going on around the state celebrating Michigan families and highlighting the importance of effective parenting in the lives of children. It is the perfect time to also celebrate the power of the voices of parents and other caregivers supporting public policies in the best interest of their families.
As we’ve seen in policy conversations about improving the situations of young children in this state, parents are uniquely positioned to bring messages to policymakers about what is important. Who knows more about how programs that used to work, just don’t work anymore? Or how those programs work well for certain groups of people, but not for everyone? Or how there isn’t enough resource to go around and everyone who needs a service can’t always access it? Too often, the people making the decisions about how we spend our tax dollars don’t hear enough from parents about their challenges and opportunities as they raise their families and try their best to be their children’s first, best and most consistent teachers.
Now is a great time to make sure that policymakers do know these things. We need to hold policymakers accountable for the decisions that they make, and ensure that those decisions are in the best interest of families. How can we do that? We need to talk to them. They can’t make their best decisions without our help and the help of our neighbors and friends. Don’t know where to start? Feel confident that you know what the issues are, and that you are the best person to talk about those challenges and opportunities that mean the most to you. Tell your elected officials what you see working for your family and other families in your community; tell them what you see putting roadblocks in the way of good parenting and healthy families.
Share the Parenting Awareness Month resources to celebrate families in your community, but also take some time this month to talk with your elected officials about how their decisions can celebrate families as well. They need to hear from you.
– Michele Corey