They say that it takes a village to raise a child.
So, does that village automatically arrive on your doorstep on the day of birth? Or maybe a wee bit afterwards so you can get settled in first.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that :(
In fact, parenting can be an isolating experience.
Because a network of support is not a given in this modern world we live in, you have to create your own. Here’s how you can do it…
What Is A Village Of Support?
The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ stems from African culture. It basically means that everyone in a ‘village’ will pitch in to raise a child.
This is based on the traditional way of life in African tribes. Communities would live in close proximity - multiple generations of one family would live in the same place. Grandparents would largely take on the disciplinary role while the parents were out working.
Homes were very small, so there were not many places for the children to play inside. So, from a young age, they were out crawling around and playing with the other children as they got older.
There were no childcare centres, so everyone in the community took an active role in making sure the children were safe and brought into line when they acted out.
This was the village mentality. Children were not the sole responsibility of their parents. It was the responsibility of the village to ensure that children were raised in the right way.
But, these traditional methods have faded as modern life took over.
What Does A Village Look Like Now?
As the world gets smaller and smaller in terms of travel and opportunity, different family generations get distanced from each other - scattered all around the globe.
That removes a lot of the village aspect at once. Then you add in the need for work, daycare and school and parents can begin to feel very isolated and overwhelmed by the complex task of being a good parent.
That is why it is important to build a village of your own.
You might not have the wisdom of the elders or the close-knit nature of a small village, but you still have love and friendship.
A modern ‘village’ encompasses many things. It could be family members that are close by, good friends, neighbours, old family friends, babysitters, coffee groups, and helpful listening ears. It is a core group of people that you love and trust. Ones you know that will support you in the way that a traditional village would.
How You Can Build Your Village
You may already have a village and not yet realise it. It may just need some fine tuning or tapping into.
Think about the people around you that you can count on - it could be anyone. Then, start utilising your village. Here are some easy ways that you can remain connected:
- Have heart to hearts with special friends when you have had a rough day
- Organise playdates where one week someone has your child, and then next week you have theirs
- Have community get-togethers where the parents can connect and the kids can play
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, but in turn, be prepared to offer your help when others might need it too
- Pool your resources and recycle clothes and other items within the community
- Let others help you
Remember that this village thing goes both ways. You will be part of someone else’s village and will be a key player in their support system. So, think just as much about how you can help your people as to how they can help you.
Together, we can create a village of support in our disjointed modern age.