“It takes a village to raise a child” was at one time generally understood and practiced in African American communities. That African tradition survived slavery. Neighbors kept an eye out for youngsters and youngsters kept an eye out for adult neighbors, especially if they (the youngsters) were making mischief. In recent years this communal child-rearing practice has declined drastically if not disappeared. Parents are attempting to rear their children in isolation – not only from community but in too many cases from the other parent.
There are many disadvantages in rearing children in isolation. Family values are often replaced by those of outsiders. Youngsters are thrown into alien settings and if they are not sufficiently grounded, they become vulnerable and often victims. Parent and child are often locked in hostile combat alone inside their home over incidents which others are either experiencing or have handled. Scarcity of resources accompanies isolation.
Sharing with others creates more resources. It’s a simple process. The saying “More hands make the work light” is easily understood and practiced when doing the same thing or a common goal is shared. We’ve got much work to do in order to look beyond our differences and instead of spending time and energy making each other wrong for the differences, look for what, if anything we share. If you are a parent of a child from birth to 21, you will find some shared needs. Having grandchildren in that age range, and given the statistics on youth incarceration and murders, I’ve gotten clear about my focus: Seeking and Sharing ways that support all youth in knowing (1) that they are loved; (2) their opinions matter;
(3) their contributions are recognized and appreciated (4) that they are unique souls born with a purpose and gifts to develop and share; (5) they are not compared to another human being.
We adults have work to do – modeling examples of and demonstrating community – seeking ways to support neighbors; recognizing and refusing to engage in gossip (defined as talking about a person in their absence), accepting differences; seeking common concerns, looking for the good in others and acknowledged when found. A popular trend has been to select our affiliations based on what we’re against. It’s time to produce some results – evidenced by seeing our youth live, develop and contribute their innate talents to the community.
An invitation and challenge to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives of youth under 21 years old. Seeking individuals who see the benefits of creating community for our children and ourselves. Would you share with us your experiences past or present? Can we
we gather, not physically but mentally and spiritually as a community whose
mission is Creating a community
where each and every child is valued and supported. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org