Raised by a Village

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not stray from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child.  That village is the one that trains and nurtures a young impressionable child in the way which he will grow. Every member of the village has a part to play.  The parents provide comfort, sustenance, affection, training in the first social interaction.  Simple lessons, like there are rules and most of them are for you own good.  Some rules are for the good of the family and maintaining harmony.  As interaction expands, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors begin to influence development.  Ideas of standing in the community develop.  Playmates teach lessons about fairness and competition, team work in play, and peer pressure.  School is the first real expansion of social boundaries, people from other neighborhoods interact, expanding the village.  Education expands the mind at the same time, it opens doors and new avenues of growth.  Jobs and first employers  teach a new set of values and responsibility.  Things have a cost and you must earn wages and respect.  The Village grows, raising the child is an investment in the future.


The problem is that some of our children are being raised by a village of idiots.  Parents, who to often are children themselves fail to parent.  If the child is lucky, a grandparent, aunt or uncle will step in and provide some sense of guidance, but mostly it’s neglect.  Lacking a safe environment, the child is raised by the most elemental standard, survival of the fittest, strongest.  The pack mentality, establishes hierarchy and group acceptance is the same as survival.   The classroom becomes another cage, replacement for parenting, built in babysitters.  Of course the babysitter can’t teach or discipline, laws don’t allow that.  And, no one is allowed to fail, so they are never pushed to try.

Today, we can’t ignore the influence of mass and social media.  Adults influence youth to be like them, strong, profane, powerful, sexual.  Grown-up thoughts and actions that young minds and bodies are poorly equipped to deal with.  These same adults, deny their responsibility for the impact they have, claiming to only be telling the truth or blaming the parents for not taking a greater role.  Peers can instantly judge and ridicule on Facebook, Twitter, Snap-chat and similar sites.  So, we have a new word; Cyber-bullying.

Children are smart.  They learn their lessons well and quickly.  Those early lessons set the course of a life time.  It takes an extraordinary person to rise above their training.  To be more.  To break the mold.  We learn by imitation, mimicry and playing the parts of others.   After a certain point, the child becomes an adult and chooses the village they will live in.  The go where they are comfortable and know how to survive and prosper.

It hurts my heart to see so many living in broken villages, continuing in the same circle that created them.  It offends me to think that we are propping up these villages and allowing the same backwards lessons to be taught to the next generation.  It falls on deaf ears when someone tells me that it is my responsibility to raise the child instead of the parents.  Because the proverb is right, it takes a village to raise the child, but it begins in the home.


art by Barbara Keith Design

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