“It takes a village to raise a child is a proverb that leverages the cultural context and belief that it takes an entire community to raise a child: A child has the best ability to become a healthy adult if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child.”-Wikipedia
It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Although those words have been said in my presence for as long as I can remember, they never adhered to my mind. It didn’t mean anything to me.
As far back to the beginning of time and all throughout the world, references have been made about multiple women caring for a child or children under one roof, even when there was no roof. Women carried and nursed each other’s children. When one stepped out of line every woman within ear shot I’m sure had something to say to the child. Fathers too I bet!
I’m sure your wondering what this has to do with anything. Yes we’ve all heard that saying. But for many modern parents these words are nothing more than that. Just words. No meaning. The difference in generations is astounding. I will be 30 years old in just two short months and I am going to refer to my generation as the middle. Mid twenties and below will be the youngest. And my parents and grandparents ages I will refer to as the older generations. Please nobody take offense to that. I gotta label everybody somehow! 😉
The youngest generation need a hand to hold all day every day. They can’t seem to figure out this thing called life and raising children…yep it takes a village! The middle generation is full of independents. They don’t need anybody for anything. Raising children…it takes a village more so for them. Because they need to be shown community support from as many people as they can get. Independent arrogance isn’t always a good thing when raising children. The older generations graciously accepted the “it takes a village” mentality. It was a way of life for everyone then! No one took it personally when someone offered unsolicited advice. There was a mutual respect and folks generally took everything as constructive criticism. Nowadays parents are enraged when someone “tells them what to do” or “how to raise their children”. I won’t keep going on that tangent. But it is a sad life we live these days, living closed minded.
Anyways back to the village! This year my daughter turned 4. And I have to admit that her first two years, I was pretty closed minded. I was resistant to advice from anyone and I cringed when people said “just wait till she becomes a teenager”. Now for me this parenting thing was a different mentality than I had ever had before. I have always been the type that takes any criticism as constructive criticism. I’m humble and grateful for all that I can learn from someone else. Yet I found myself resentful and with a chip on my shoulder.
Something I realized a few years prior to our daughter being born, was that I had a tendency to need control over situations. Not a good character trait to have I might add! Then my kind hearted and selfless mother in law agreed to keep our baby girl five days a week while I/we worked. My time with my precious baby was waking her up to leave the house in the morning and a two hour stint in the evenings while I cooked dinner and frantically ran around the house tidying up before she went to bed. Girlfriend never made it past 7pm before conking out! And because of the little time I had with her, I was jealous of the time my in laws had. In those two years that my mother in law practically raised my daughter, I lost valuable time and connections over stupid self pity and jealousy issues. Which I alone created. When the time came that she was no longer able to keep our “Punk”, we made the shuffle and decided that I would be a stay at home mom. Then and only then did I realize that “it takes a village to raise a child”.
I had always known I was born to be a mother. But I had no idea what the heck I was doing. Every day was something different and I was just winging it! I quickly learned that the “unsolicited advice” I was getting previously, was now the exact words I needed to hear. And once I got the jealousy out of the way, my mind opened back to constructive criticism and didn’t take things personally. I’m always the first to admit, “hey I didn’t even think about that!” I’m not perfect and never claim to be. I had to get out of my own way! And I learned and really grew from that experience.
Two years later as I’m battling the terrible threes and the new word when your kid is called a “fournado”. I’m sure it’s in that urban dictionary but not in the Webster! 😉 When my child is having a meltdown or giving me attitude, I am grateful for the “village” of family and friends who step in say something to her. Because her ears are tone deaf to mothers voice. So if she’ll listen to someone else, by all means somebody else take a crack it her! Haha! If my kid is out of line, I would hope that every single person I know would step in to defend me, encourage me, or just laugh with me. Sometimes all you need is a good laugh at the situation to keep negative emotions at bay.
I haven’t been there or done that with everything in life. I don’t know it all. And if I ever portray that I do, someone please knock me back down to reality! It really does take a village to raise a child! Please listen earnestly to others offering their opinions and advice. Especially your elders. They HAVE been through more than you. And you and I both know, they’ve obviously raised decent humans. Otherwise I’m sure you wouldn’t have a relationship with them. No one you know is out to hurt your child. Yes that statement could go a hundred different ways and into conversations we are not going to have. But you get what I’m trying to say within the context of this post.
So open your minds and your hearts and let’s mend this broken world we live in. Starting within ourselves! I’ll be praying for you and yours!