Thoughtful Parenting: Importance of community | SteamboatToday.com

Thoughtful Parenting: Importance of community

Tom Valand/For Steamboat Today

Thoughtful parenting youth

Teenagers and young adults are often labeled the disconnected generation, due to their innate and symbiotic relationship with technology. Phone calls and the old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation have been supplanted by texting and snap chatting.

The reality is, this stereotype hits home, not only for Generation Z, but for all of us. In 2016, Apple stated that the average iPhone user logs in 80 times per day, accessing it, on average, every 11 minutes and 15 seconds.

Due to the proliferation of apps for everything from sports and entertainment to news and social media, we can personalize our devices so we can learn, work and play in the ways we want, whenever we want.

As busy parents, we constantly strive to add efficiencies to our family's lives; hundreds of parenting apps exist, promising to educate, organize, protect and sooth our children.

While the use of these apps can be helpful, the role of in-person interaction within our family and community remains invaluable. Behavioral scientists are increasingly finding that social connection is a key indicator for health, well-being and longevity.

Our children learn how to interact and build trust within the community through our example as parents. By continually exposing them to our experiences and relationships, we create the building blocks they will use the rest of their lives.

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One of the biggest challenges to this is when technology becomes a distraction or an addiction. A great strategy to combat that is appreciating and taking advantage of opportunities to connect face-to-face when they arise and creating an intention to involve our children in our daily interactions. Steamboat Springs offers a plethora of community events for families to grow, including the monthly All Pro Dad Breakfast for fathers their children.

The APD Breakfast occurs every from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. every third Friday during the school year in Strawberry Park Middle School cafeteria and hosts dads and their kids age 3 through 14 at no cost. Each meeting begins with time for everyone to settle in and, of course, enjoy breakfast. The dads then introduce themselves and their children and share with the group what makes them proud of their kids. Next comes a group discussion about important topics, such as trust and bravery. The event closes with a raffle for the kids.

The local chapter started in 2014, after Brian Simmons and his family moved to Steamboat from Tennessee. Having been part of an APD group in Nashville, the Simmons family missed their monthly tradition. Through their encouragement, Simmons started his own group and has since grown the event to an average of 35 attendees every month.

Providing food and prizes on a regular basis to a group this size is no easy task. Fortunately, local businesses and organizations, including The Egg & I, the Fatherhood Program of Routt County and Steamboat Bible Church, have provided tremendous support to keep the program rolling.

The final breakfast of the school year will take place at Strawberry Park Middle School on May 19. The event will also be making its debut at the North Routt Charter School from 7 to 8 a.m. May 18, thanks to the efforts of another Steamboat resident, Jerry Coleman.

For more information about the program and how you can support either chapter, email Simmons (Steamboat) at allprodad.brainsimmons@gmail.com or Coleman (North Routt) at allprodadjerry@outlook.com. Information can also be found at allprodad.com.

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