Growing up I would always hear the term "It takes a village to raise a child." It gave me a sense of security in a sense. Like no matter what happens, there was a ton of people there to support my parents, to help guide me, and to go to if I needed someone. Growing up, I truly can say I had that. I had great parents that loved and cared for me. But I also had grandparents that supported my parents and helped us kids any way they possibly could. They had best friends that treated us as their own. They had a church community that welcomed and embraced us. They had neighbors who looked over our homes when we were gone. But it went further than that, it felt when a child was involved, the whole world partnered up to make sure these children were cared for and as safe as possible. A little idealistic? Yes. But as a child that's how it felt.
My parents didn't have to think twice about letting us play outside without them. They didn't have to worry about us knowing what to do if a shooter raided our schools. They didn't have to lose sleep at night wondering if I was in the next room being cyber bullied. And they definitely didn't have to worry about waking up to a screen worth of insults be slewed at them about their parenting style.
They had a village. A village they trusted, relied on, and that they contributed to.
Since becoming a mom myself I can't help but to wonder where the village has gone? Am I looking in the wrong places? Or maybe I don't understand what the "village" really is after all. Don't get me wrong, I have an amazing small circle of friends and family that love me and my children unconditionally. Which I am forever greatful for. But I always thought your village was the community around you, stepping up and helping fill in the gaps that maybe the parents have missed. I also thought it was helping build up the parents, helping them feel supported, loved and encouraged. I thought it meant showing children grace and understanding when they didn't make the best decisions while also showing them how to do better the next time. But I also thought it went further than the local community. In my mind I thought parents, for the most part, supported other parents. Yes I knew not everyone got along, and that people definitely had different ways of doing things. But when push came to shove, and a crisis happened or someone really needed help, there was a unsaid expectation that other parents (and non-parents for that matter) would join together and work together for the greater good.
Years ago, if a child went missing, people from all over the country would flood in to help and search for this parents sweet baby. If there was a tragic accident, people rallied around this family and showed them love, compassion and encouragement. Now I can't help but to see a world that is quick to judge. Quick to anger and so very quick to speak. A world that instead of walking the cold, dark streets looking for that lost child, they instead sit behind a computer and throw insults at an already grieving family. Instead of setting up benefits or charities for the children these parents have lost, they are scolded and ridiculed for their "bad parenting skills," when the reality is, each one of us is only one mistake away from making those same decisions. And let's not even get started on the fact the mommy shamming is at an all time high.
Some days it feels so big and so divided that I am afraid that the village may be lost forever. It feels as though these days we are quicker to point the finger than ever before. We compare our lives away each day, always trying to one up one another.. Even if that means taking someone down when they have already fallen. We easily pass judgment, but seldomly give grace. We hardly second guess our way of thinking, yet have no problem telling someone else they should have done something differently. We often destroy relationships with those we care about the most, just to prove the point that we were right. And I say WE, because I have done these things too. But I want to be better for my village. Because maybe, just maybe if each one of us took the advice that was offered oh so long ago, things could be different. Maybe, we could find our village again.
"Know this, my beloved brothers and sisters, let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger" James 1:19
I'm willing to take the steps necessary to start repairing my village. Will you join me?