The phrase or adage “it takes a village” to raise children was one of the most prolific statements in parenting of our time. Some of us realized its relevance while others did not. When you are a parent and seemingly appear to have it all together then the “village” concept elude you. You feel as though you nor your child need anything other than what you have provided. You may believe that you are the end-all to meet-all to your child. While that could be true; you are still in your first trimester and things are healthy, loving and you are wise because you know exactly what your child has and needs. You have medical staff and family to come to your aid.
Yes, I said that with a funny bone touched because I know that you only know about the child you are carrying inside and I say the with some uncertainty. You unaware of the delivery. Before the child is born you are the sole provider. But wait; you would rely on the doctor for appointments and advice. Sometimes prescriptions and simply just to walk you through the “great expectations”. Can you see the need now of the village? The phrase comes from an old African proverb which its specific origin is lost. There have been several authors since then that have pinned “it takes a village to raise a child”.
Let us view this in an aerial shot at three thousand feet. Sometimes when you stand back or change your vantage point you can see things a bit clearly or at least differently. This notion of this village gave us the idea of an expanded family of care givers to every child. Not limited to paternal parents, grandparents, siblings and others. This village could be neighbors near and far. It extends to school faculty, fireman, church, troop leaders, athletic coaches and much more.
There was a time when the nucleus of a family was under one roof. There were grandparents, mom, dad and siblings. Grandmother would stay home to care for the young children under school age while mom and dad go to work outside the home. The grandmother was expected to not only teach basics of reading and writing but social skills. She taught table manners, in speech and much more. In many cultures the children learned of their family history of relatives that they may never meet. Grandmother was the matriarch and trusted soul of the child’s wellbeing. She also was the disciplinarian of not just the child but the parent if they too were in need of correction.
When mothers and fathers had to leave for work no one questioned the caregivers capabilities of caring for the children of any age. She had the age, experience and knowledge to be more than a suitable option. She prepared wholesome meals, read stories and prepared them for the next day. Today the village is still in tact yet it looks a lot different.
Grandmothers are in the workplace longer and do not have the luxury of sitting home and caring for children fulltime. Now every able-bodied adult is expected to leave the household to make a living to support the family of those who cannot provide for themselves. This not taking into account of the 25% of all children are raised by single parents and 72% of black children raised by single parents. The stats are alarming but again speaks to the need for the village to have their part in the upbringing of children.
The face of the village has changed over the last decade to more single fathers are the primary caregiver of the children in the home, same-sex parents in the home and older children caring for their siblings. It is important to be careful as to who cares for the child in your village with the concern of those who would cause harm to a child’s physical, emotional, sexual, psychological well-being. Background checks are at an all time necessity for a piece of mind. It is better to verify than to bury, metaphorically speaking.
We understand that no man or woman is an island; we also accept that the village may require in-depth thought for those who will participate in the health, growth and development of our most valuable resource; our children. All villages are not created equal. You must feel completely comfortable with who ever is accountable for your child. It is all parent’s responsibility ultimately to make sure safety is first. Choose caregivers responsibly.
Do you still need the Village? Did you ever?