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My name is Annabel Ruffell and I am the founder of Journey for Earth, a socially conscious media company that shares the personal journeys of inspiring individuals making a positive impact in the world.

A couple of weeks ago I asked 8 parents to answer the question: What Journey are YOU on? Their responses were so beautiful, heartfelt, honest and touching that I knew I had to do it again. So here is Part 2 of “Parenting Journeys” featuring 4 inspiring parents.

Our journeys can inspire each other, create connection, empower. And I know for myself when I talk to another parent, hear about their journey, the love, the acceptance, the beauty, the ups and downs, the commitment to be better, to be more patient…it inspires me to be the best parent I can be…and also understand that none of us are perfect…we are just doing our best. I hope in sharing the journeys of these wonderful parents it inspires you too on your journey.

Paul Johannson, father to 2 year old Quinn. Single father with shared custody. Writing And directing. Avid outdoorsman with my son. And trying to teach and practice the lifestyle of slowing down.

Follow Paul: @pjraven

PaulQuinnThere is no more profound a change in your life then the awesome and terrifying responsibility of providing, caring for, and guiding into existence another human life. I used to think people should have to apply for a child rearing license before engaging in the prospect of raising a little one. How many more awful drivers, thoughtless litterers, winy, entitled stock brokers and loud popcorn munchers in the theater do we need?  I’d tap my foot waiting in line for a coffee while some mouth breather, would order a decaf, soy, chocolate, salted caramel something or other.  As the order was taken I’d wonder if a contraceptive could be secretly added to anyone’s beverage that had more than three words scribbled on the lip of the paper cup.

Alas, my own myopic over-sensitivity leaked out through my un-matching gym socks the day my son was born.

The cacophony of annoying sounds, the impatience, the intolerance, all became part of a distant memory of who I once was.  Some other man. Having traveled in every continent, eaten with Princes and Prime Ministers. Drinking bottles of hundred year old wine with rock stars and movie stars . I now longed for nothing more than to warm his bottle and hold my own prince in my arms and make up the words to songs I’d long forgotten. His warmth, his smiles, his drool that spilled from his chubby little lips was the wine that warmed my blood and sent unknown euphoria coursing its way through my veins.

He is two now, and we are hikers. Wilderness explorers who find every loose bit of tree bark, trunk moss, lichens, acorns and all types and variations of insects in our own unique national geographic exhibition. Our eyes bulge in awe and wonder as we watch the miniscule and the marvelous open up before us. We are Lewis and Clark, Captain Cook, and Sir Edmund Hillary all rolled into one. we are father and son and the world is ours to explore.  Nothing is too small, and nothing is beyond our imagination. Branches are the oars for our great viking ships and leaves floating on a creek are our escape vessels as we traverse the mighty waters of the Nile.  This is how I speak to my son. The language which is ours. It is not put on. It is mine. My own inner child voice. Long thought lost in trying to manage a mortgage and balance a budget and fight for a parking spot. I am renewed. I am the better father than mine was to me. The advantage of hindsight, of introspection and serious self examination. I have him to thank and he is the polar star to my lost ship. We are guiding by the stars on this voyage and I know that no GPS or map or directions can lead us to where we are going. That destination has no station or landing zone or roads end. It is as forever as our love. It is a journey I had no idea I had begun until I had realized my traveling companion was my greatest teacher. My son.

Cath Cook, mother to Fred 4 years old and Arthur 6 months, pianist, freecycler, aspiring artist and former marketer of classical music.

CathcookFour years ago, expecting my first baby, I was clueless about birth and babies. I gave more thought to which pushchair to buy than what kind of birth I wanted, I was terrified of having a baby who cried a lot, and I knew that smacking was an effective form of discipline so I presumed that was the way for me. The baby’s room was all ready for him, decorated in white with bright bunting, when I bumped into an old school friend who told me about a book called the Continuum Concept. The first thing she told me was it was okay to sit at home a lot and hold the baby, and later, exhausted from a traumatic birth, I was relieved. Then I carried him in a sling, kept him next to me at night, and started to read more, about how babies *need* human touch to blossom, and how they cry to communicate a need, and that breastfeeding is so much more than just food, and how – when our instincts are so clouded by modern life – we can trust our newborn to show us what to do.

To say all this was eye-opening is an understatement. To me, who presumed that childbirth was completely out of my control, that my baby crying himself to sleep was okay as long as it “worked”… I really just didn’t know any better. But now, with one son about to turn four and his little brother six months old, I’m glad to say that I do know better. I know that responding to their needs early means having babies who cry less. I know that treating them with respect will lead to them respecting me. I know that loving guidance will have more clout than punishments and rewards. And I know that it is possible to have the birth you (and your baby) want, if you plan and read and just …think. That’s what it boils down to. Now, I think.

And the bunting is still up, but the boys aren’t ready to move in there yet.

Bethany Davies, 32 wife to Winston (farmer) and mother to Thea 4 years old and Kenneth 11 months.

1371364_10202110546393966_1573692888_nI am on a journey in so many different aspects of my life: with my husband through our marriage and shared parenthood, with myself through my spirituality, my journey with God and, right now, with my children as their mother and guide through these early years.  I am on the journey of life, of human and world discovery.

Winston and I chose to lay a farm in his native West African country, Sierra Leone.  We want to secure our family’s future and give something back for the blessed lives we have led.  To date it has been a difficult journey as full of potholes and obstacles as the rural roads we travel here daily.  Despite the difficulties it has been a journey full of people, experiences, love and enlightenment.

I want my children to gain from our journey a childhood rich with love, experiences and people from all walks of life so that they can become the determined but compassionate human beings that the world and their generation are going to need.

Troy Casey father to Troy 6 years old and Athena 2 1/2 years old. Man of the Earth/Indigenous Human, Nature Lover, Amazon Ambassador, On Camera personality, Entrepreneur Certified Health Nut, Barefoot walker. http://www.certifiedhealthnut.com

troyathenaI AM on the shamanic path of transformation. I AM warrior on the path of connecting my head with my heart. I choose to live life to the fullest. I AM on an awesome journey of self discovery. An alchemical spiritual ride with the personal mission to clean the air, water soil and create equitable systems for all mankind. I use advocacy through media to unify other brothers and sisters on what is truly relevant and our common human heritage: THAT WHICH SUPPORTS LIFE ON EARTH (clean air, water soil)

As a father and primary care taker of my young children I AM constantly guided to work on myself and become the change I wish to see in the world. My work/career, marriage, parenting style as well as my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual development is constantly being aligned with my values and available energy. I use the challenges I face in our current world structure to improve myself and my world. I AM committed to being the best father and husband I can in any given moment and when i fall, I RECOMMIT.

A wild ride that I take full responsibility for. I teach by example, when I am wrong or do things that hurt I take responsibility and work to correct my being as best i can. I AM grateful for the people in my life “good or bad” and grateful for the experiences that i manifest “good or bad”. I AM an advocate for balance and strive for that balance in my life. I advocate for organic food and FREE ENERGY, therefore i buy organic food and ride my bike as much as i can. I bless this journey and know its a good one no matter what! I, like YOU, are human, doing the best I can with the tools i have…lets build commUNITY back into the human template! 

http://www.journeyforearth.com

What Journey are YOU on?