Episode 25: Raffi, Children’s Troubadour and Founder of the Centre for Child Honouring


Children’s Troubadour Raffi is famous worldwide for his beautiful songs, including, “Baby Beluga,” “Bananaphone,” “Willoughby Wallaby Woo” and so many more. While I only really got to know his music when I became a father, millions of people who grew up with his music now have children of their own. They are known as Beluga Grads. From his lyrics, it’s clear that Raffi cares deeply about children, and about the environment. But only recently did I learn about his work with the organization he founded, the Centre for Child Honouring, that seeks to “advance Child Honouring as a universal ethic, an essential code of conduct for all to embrace.” The Centre’s vision is articulated in its Covenant for Honouring Children, and further expressed in an anthology edited by Raffi and Sharna Olfman, Child Honouring: How to Turn This World Around, includes essays by renowned child development author Penelope Leach, Nobel Prize nominee Lloyd Axworthy, celebrated cultural historian Riane Eisler, bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver, ecological economist Ron Colman among others, and a foreword by the Dalai Lama.

On my recent trip to present at the School’s Out Washington Bridge Conference in Seattle, WA, I took a little side journey to Salt Spring Island, BC with my good friend Zach Wilson and I was so delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Raffi about his values and his work, and I hope you get as much out of the conversation as I did.

Raffi recently perfomed a few concerts in Canada and the northwestern U.S. to benefit the Centre for Child Honouring., and he plans to tour more in 2013. Be on the lookout for the rare chance to see Raffi perform live! I know I will be taking my family the first chance we get.

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Please Speak Freely

On Please Speak Freely, Eric Gurna, founder of Development Without Limits interviews leading thinkers, artists and others to shed light on key issues and explore different perspectives about youth development and education. The idea is to get past the platitudes and institutional positions, and have honest, nuanced conversations about things that really matter to young people and communities. Please Speak Freely guests include:

  • Raffi, Children’s Troubadour and Founder of the Centre for Child Honouring
  • Alfie Kohn, Author of several books including Punished By Rewards and The Schools Our Children Deserve
  • Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at New York University
  • Karen Pittman, President & CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment
  • Tony Smith, Former Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District
  • Lenore Skenazy, “America’s Worst Mom” and Author of Free-Range Kids

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