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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child: How communities can help raise kids
Back in the day, community living was a given. Dating back thousands of years to somewhat recently, people lived in communities for safety, socialization, and shared resources.
From the earliest days of humanity our brains have been programmed to live in close proximity to others, to share food and tools, to protect each other, and to exchange ideas.
But the past century has drastically changed the concept of community
no matter if you live in a rural area, a suburban neighborhood, or an urban metropolis. Families no longer co-habitat as intergenerationally as they once did.
especially as the appeal of the nuclear family began to increase. The move from rural living to urban lifestyles to suburbia.
and then back to city-life has meant that extended families often fracture and live further and further apart.
We are often caught up in the reality of constant “busy-ness” that we don’t take the time to get to know our neighbors.
And social media has redefined “connection” and “friendship,” leaving us staring at screens more than engaging with the people around us.
The impact of this is apparent on parents and children
The adage “it takes a village to raise a child” is absolutely still true. But somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the “village” we need to raise kids in nurturing.
creative, and safe ways. And as a result, families are missing out on crucial learning experiences and much needed support systems.
In the end, many parents feel isolated and alone in their struggles, and kids don’t have the opportunity to engage with a diverse group of people and personalities.
Why community matters
Healthy parents lead to healthy families. Not just physical health but emotional health too. However “going it alone” with even just one child.
let alone multiple children, doesn’t lend itself to positive mental health – no matter what Instagram says. Oftentimes parents feel stressed.
overworked, judged, and inadequate.
Burnout and exhaustion are real, but without a community around to validate those feelings, many moms and dads feel like that pain is unique to them.
Another loss with the disappearance of community living is the dearth of shared resources among families. From small things like meal-swaps.
to larger benefits such as having a trusted friend to leave your children with, parents AND children are missing out on experiences.
that lift us up and expose us to different ways of living and engaging with the world.
Building a community
So…the big question is: if I don’t have a community, how do I create one?
We won’t sugarcoat it – it’s not always easy and does take conscious planning. But it is possible, especially when you know there are so many other parents out there looking for community support too!
it takes a village to raise a child meaning.
The most obvious place to start is with existing family and friends. Strangely, this can sometimes feel daunting because it can be harder to admit our struggles.
and perceived imperfections to those we love. But asking grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins for help can make them feel included.
and also provide your children with more access to family relationships and its history. Even if families don’t live nearby.
set up regular family Zoom calls so everyone feels more connected.
Talking over video can sometimes be hard, for both adults and kids. But if you organize simple trivia contests.
joke sharing, and online games, then it becomes more social and opens the door for deeper conversations down the line.
it takes a village to raise a child meaning in hindi
Friends are another great place to begin, even if you think those friends already have everything all together.
Many parents feel pressure to look “perfect” on the outside, so it can be hard to imagine that it’s a different story at home.
Think about one or two friends in your life that you trust. Reach out to them to explain that you want to cultivate more community for you and your family .
and ask if they’d be interested.
There’s no rulebook for how to establish your community and what it looks like.
You just need willing participants to help design a framework that meets everyone’s needs! And don’t leave out friends without children.
Even if their choice to not have kids is intentional, they still may want to be a part of your child’s life and provide a positive and unique influence.
That said, there are times when family and current friends
just aren’t an option and you really must start from scratch. This can feel harder but also incredibly rewarding when you find “your people!”
Make a list of where in your life you are exposed to other parents. School, playgrounds, swimming or art lessons, local social media groups.
your neighborhood, etc. The list will be unique to your family’s lifestyle but can show where you’re engaging with (hopefully) like-minded moms and dads. You can start small.
– throw out the idea of a simple potluck lunch or offer to host a group playdate (with parents in attendance).
The idea is to very intentionally select and cultivate relationships
with other families that will blossom over time.And finally, consider seeking out local services and programs designed to build community.
Parenting groups and/or community centers are wonderful (and affordable) places to start looking for other families who are seeking deeper connections.
and support systems. Consider volunteering with family friendly organizations as a way to meet other like-minded parents.
while also demonstrating to your children the value of giving back.
The benefits of community
Building your own community can be hard, especially when you’re already feeling exhausted from the day-to-day work of parenting.
But in the long run it can be totally worth it. Some of the bigger benefits are help with childcare, having a safe and non-judgemental space to share your struggles.
and providing your children with a rich and diverse social network. In addition, you will be able to collaborate with other parents.
share resources, and gain more insight and ideas into positive parenting strategies.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to happen overnight
– and nor should it. Think of establishing a community for your family like growing a garden. You will need to plant the seeds.
and tend to them slowly and carefully with small steps. See what grows in your environment.
– not all relationships will be “the one” but with care and attention, likely you will find people that feel safe and supportive, and lift you and your family up.
It takes a village
The proverb has been attributed to African cultures. In 2016, the USA’s National Public Radio (NPR) researched the origins of the proverb but was unable to pinpoint them, although academics said the proverb embodies the spirit of several African cultures.
Examples of African societies with proverbs that translate to ‘It takes a village …’ include the following:
- In Lunyoro (Bunyoro) there is a proverb that says “Omwana takulila nju emoi,” whose literal translation is “A child does not grow up only in a single home.”
- In Kihaya (Bahaya) there is a saying, “Omwana taba womoi,” which translates as “A child belongs not to one parent or home.”
- Kijita (Wajita) has the proverb, “Omwana ni wa bhone,” meaning regardless of a child’s biological parents, its upbringing belongs to the community.
- In Swahili, the proverb “Asiye funzwa na mamae hufunzwa na ulimwengu” means roughly the same: “Whomsoever is not taught by the mother will be taught with the world.”
- RESOURCE: WIKIPEDIA