Thoughts from Writing Chapter 7 of Suddenly Widowed
The origin seems to be unknown. Some say it’s an African proverb. Others give credit to a Native American Indian Tribe. No matter where or who it came from, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is a saying I’ve heard my entire life.
When I was a kid, I rode off on my bike with the other neighborhood kids and we weren’t expected back home until the streetlights came on. No one came looking for us or worried about where we were or what we were doing because every parent in the neighborhood was keeping an eye on the kids that crossed their line of site. If we stepped out of line, we were reprimanded by the nearest adult. At lunchtime, the resident mom at our location made a plate full of pb&js to tide us over until dinner. The streetlights must have had some magical communication ability because the neighborhood adults seemed to surface, all at the same time, when the lights began to illuminate the blacktopped streets. The neighborhood village really was involved in raising us, feeding us, disciplining us, and bandaging our skinned knees.
Where is the village today? I found it in the small community at the school my children attended, particularly after my husband died.
Both of our children attended a small private school that served children from preschool through eighth grade. Ellie had just started fifth grade and Jake was in the four-year-old preschool program. There were only about 300 students attending the school. This school was a special place, an extended family where everyone really did know your name. No matter who you were or what quirks you may have had, this community embraced you, cared about your kids, and came together for anyone in need.
The school nurse, Beth, who had been the first person on the accident scene when Mark was hit by a pickup truck, relayed the tragic news to the school community. Within hours plans were in motion to assist my family. Teachers and parents delivered food, the kids’ friends called and visited, and the community showed their concern.
Closely knit communities like this are a rarity today. I was incredibly blessed to be a part of this school and my children learned the value of having a village.