Be the village.
We have all heard the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child.” I am honored to have been a member of such an enchanting crossroad.
When my kids were younger, I stayed home until my son started kindergarten and even then, I was home all but two days a week. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I spent my days attending college. Teacher goals in mind. I fancy the years with my village and tribe. Those memories may even be more extraordinary to me than any of its’ members.
This evening while perusing old photos and visiting the past once again, I started thinking about the present. Sadly, I feel there is a stark contrast between the way my kids, now 24 and 20 and their buddies of yesteryear, grew up versus the kids of today. Societies members in general are entrenched in a fast-paced, instant gratification, technology driven world. I have to wonder if the village experience is still alive and well today?
As I look back at the consequential members of our tribe I am ever so thankful.
Why are villages of the essence?
In my opinion, first and foremost, the memories. They might not remember every detail but they remember the fun they had with their tribe. Some of those members will remain part of my kids lives throughout adulthood. Heck, one even wound up being my son-in-law.
Activities within the village help keep the members out of trouble. I’m not so naive as to believe that no trouble will be wrought within the village confines but having tribe elders to hold members accountable can help thwart off a lot of mischief.
Within a village, exists members with assorted talents and levels of expertise on many subjects. Thank God for diversity. Village elders are able to help each other by lending their expertise to the tackling of pending tough talks and sticky situations. They can even approach the younger members and assist in those talks and situations when a parents pleas or advice isn’t solicited or wanted, for that matter. We would all love to think that our little angels hang on our every word and advice broached but you and I both know that’s a fool’s paradise. I am thankful that my kids were surrounded by people that they respected and would listen to when momma and daddy’s pleas fell on deaf ears. I am forever beholden to them.
Within the parameters of a village, respect should be doled out among the members. If you halfway pay attention to the news or are even a mediocre observer of the goings on around you, chances are you have caught a glimpse of the lack of respect among youth today. I have to wonder if that lack of reverence is because our villages are missing in action. Is that their transgression or ours?
Tromps through the national forest made for memorable photo ops but in all honesty those moments were forming characteristics that make decent humans. Social and communication skills were developed. Teamwork. Perseverance was evident when we tromped too far into the forest only to realize it on our hike back to civilization.
Sunday school, Awanas and vacation bible school were contributing factors to spiritual growth and relationships that will last a lifetime. Routinely singing Jesus Loves Me and My God Is So Big, So Strong and So Mighty only to understand later that those weren’t just catch phrases but soul saving sentiments.
Fishing, well its’ a family tradition and sharing it with the little tribesmen and women was a high point for sure. Patience was instilled as well as an understanding that not all days produce fish but there is always tomorrow. Isn’t that true to life? Everyday doesn’t produce but the future holds potential.
It saddens me a tad bit to think my village is all grown up. I tend to be a bit down in the mouth when I realize most of the members, barring my own grown kids, have moved on. I have to believe that they have as many fond memories as I do. I have a heavy heart upon comprehending that my kids and most of the members of our tribe have lost touch and formed new tribes. I keep tabs on the closest of members from years ago via that technology I partly blame for the MIA villages.
On the flip side, my heart is filled with anticipation as I sit back and observe them forming their own tribes. I have to wonder if they will carry on any of the traditions that were practiced day in and day out.
I anxiously await the moment that my own children have their own little tribesmen and women and start recruiting members for their villages.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it tribe, call it family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Jane Howard