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It Takes a Village To Raise a Child; Parenting Moment

Bowl on the headRemember that old saying, "It Takes a village to raise a child"? I've been thinking about it quite a lot lately. I remember when I was a child, I was surrounded by a vast number of adults who were not my parents, whom I highly respected and would listen and obey when they told me to do or not do any particular task. I have a few of these adult models that to this very day I still call "mom (insert last name)" and "Dad (insert last name here)" because of the unique bond we formed while I was growing up and they put forth the effort to love and help watch out for me! Quite often these adult role models were the parents of my best friends. 

Shortly after I started having children of my own, I realized that this sort of "village" environment is no longer the "norm". I was rather SHOCKED when I found that a neighbor could just as soon ignore and walk away from my child if they were in danger, or would rather call the cops instead of simply saying, "hey, stop it!" When did neighbors turn into "pests" instead of dear close friends who looked out for each other? 

We had one duty station in Kansas, while the husband was still in the army, where I got some semblance of that "village" back into my life. I can't tell you what that meant to me! I had 3 neighbors out of an entire block that I knew my kids would be safe with! And I hope they knew their kids could be safe at my home too! It was such a relief to know that if I got held up in traffic on my way home from a Dr appointment or a fast trip to the store, and the bus happened to deliver my boys before I got home, that they could go to these neighbor's homes and be safe until I could get home. 

Upon moving back to Idaho, I'm glad to say, that we are building a village in our neighborhood where I know my children are safe, where they respect the adults in those homes and they have an environment of adult role models to follow and learn from! 

The biggest surprise to myself is that I'm developing my own feelings of pride and love for these children. It began when my children become friends with the neighborhood children. Then I began to develop a relationship with the parents. Then we became friends. As I get to know these parents more, I trust them more. I get the opportunity to spend time with their children, as they often play with my sons. I see what great kids they are! 

What really brought this to life, is last night, the 8 year old had a school program. As we were watching the program I found myself holding my breath, and hanging on every word of the other children from our neighborhood that I've developed this relationship with! When did it happen that I feel almost as much pride and protective nature for these other children as I do for my very own? I can tell you I was beaming with pride at the end of the performance last night as I saw and cheered on not only my own son, but 4 other very special children from our neighborhood! 
 

I often find myself keeping an eye out for them when they are outside playing, to help keep them safe. I am filled with pride when I see them succeed! And my heart leaps for joy, when I notice these amazing children show signs that they feel safe in our home, and they trust me enough to ask for my help or advice! They are my little adopted children! 

I never overstep my bounds, thinking I know more than their own parents, because obviously I don't! But I do feel a sense of responsibility to help the parent when they are in need, or help the child when they are in need and the parent can't fulfill the role.

Lader HosenAnd at the same time, I've been so grateful as these other parents have stepped up to the role of doing the very same for me with my children! Just the other week, the 6 year old was walking home from school, tripped and fell. He hurt his knee and started crying. I was still 2 houses down and didn't even know this had happened! But one of these amazing parents heard him crying, rushed out and picked him up. Made sure he was ok. And then she brought him home to me! We've lived in so many places where something simple as this would have been ignored. Yet in our little "village" that mother took the time to care for my son when I couldn't! And I am forever grateful! 

For me, I think if more people would be as my dear neighbors, who have helped me build our own small village; if more people cared about what the children in their neighborhood were up to, maybe our neighborhoods wouldn't be as scary. Often I find myself agreeing, that it truly does take a village to raise a child! I won't always be around when things happen, or my children need to make a critical decision. They need the reassurance that our home is not the ONLY home where they can feel safe. 

 

As I was feeling so proud of my "children" last night, I wondered…

Is this what my adoptive parents felt when I succeeded? 

Did they feel the same love, concern, and need to protect as I feel? 

Is this what it truly means to have a village help raise your child? 

Village

Do you have a village to raise your children? 

What do you Think? Do you need a village?

Or does it not make a difference and you can do it all on your own? 

I want to hear your thoughts. 

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Becky Jane

Tuesday 8th of May 2012

Your loving village has a lot to do with you...it's obvious that you are a major part in creating your safe haven. You are an awesome sweetheart.

We've gotten to know several of our soon-to-be neighbors and they are so cool. We were visiting with one of the older gentlemen that lives across the street from us. He said a big wind storm came up the other day and he could hear the doors on our new house banging (no door knobs yet), so he rushed over and secured all our doors so they wouldn't get ruined. Such a comfort to know he's watching our house.

Amber

Wednesday 9th of May 2012

Oh becky I'm so glad you have such wonderful neighbors! I feel better knowing you have special people there to help look out for you and your new home!I can't wait to see more updates on that house!

Kristin Wheeler (MamaLuvsBooks)

Saturday 5th of May 2012

Great post!!! I would say since we are living away from family (and have been for a while) we have built a nice community of friends around us as our village here in RI. They were all nice enough to step in as our family today at church for First Communion.

autumn kelly

Saturday 5th of May 2012

I can relate. Growing up we had "A Village" where ever we lived. As my children were growing up we were also fortunate to have these villages. Ain't life grand.

sharon martin

Saturday 5th of May 2012

We have lovely neighbours to have a quick chat to or to help out each other when needed, but we would so love to live in a nice old country village where everyone knew everyone and you just get that special vibe being part of. Im pleased that you have found somewhere special xx

Michele Ertter Brosius

Saturday 5th of May 2012

We live in a rural area, so our "village" is widespread. Our schools are so small that everyone knows everyone and can pick up your child on a whim at school or send their kids over for the day. I love my "village" and wouldn't have it any other way. We attend sporting events for our "village" kids, cheer them on and encourage as we did our own. I am glad you have found a "village" and have a support system to make the parenting road less challenging and the children in your "village" have lots of "parental" support.

Thanks for sharing! Michele

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