A Village is Better (Community, Enriching childhood, Stability, Learning, Single parenting)

Years ago, Hillary Clinton came out with a book titled ‘It Takes a Village’ titled after the African proverb – ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’

I never read it, but the title intrigued me, and it made sense to me. A friend and a father of two then young children, scoffed at it.

Him – “I don’t need Hillary telling me what to do with my children. And, I don’t need a village. I can take care of my children on my own.”

But community has always been the way that we raised children, and, each other. That has changed.

Here in the U.S., several factors have led to a disintegration of community…

Families splitting
People gaining their desire for connection through the internet
Lower church attendance
Neighbors being isolated
Higher cost of living
Increased mistrust of people outside of close family members

Additionally, more than any other country other than those not ravaged by war and thus teeming with exiting refugees, we have dispersed; moved far from one another to pursue higher education, better paying jobs, and lofty dreams.

In short, people are leading more isolated lives than ever. Hence, the popularity of social media where it gives you not just some semblance of a democratizing voice but a sense of connection; people caring about your life and you about theirs.

It is no substitute for the real thing, though.

And, for those of us who have been single parents, the path is all the more challenging. There is no spouse to turn to when you are spent emotionally and physically. It’s on you. I observe, also, that many women basically are single parents inside of marriages. There are single married people.

My point?

Actually, I was just thinking how lucky I have been. Ten years ago, I manifested a large house, and, over the next few years, I came to have a daughter full-time and others living with us in other sections. For nearly six years, I’ve had renters, and, with few exceptions, it’s worked out wonderfully.

In fact, I credit my daughter for attracting these people to her. All of these women have been in their 50s to 60s, very warm, very attentive with her, each bringing her some new kind of joy. They have all been here long-term.

So, despite growing up with me, and the parenting responsibility being squarely on me, she has had love and stimulation coming from others. If it had just been the two of us all of this time, her life would have been much less interesting and nurturing. There have been countless times, too, where one of these ladies has spent time with her out of their own desire while I did what I wanted.

I disagree slightly with my friend, then.

Yes, I can do it. But… a child’s life is richer with a village. I got a little creative with the one I created, but I’m thankful for those near and far who are a part of hers consistently.

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