If it takes a village to raise a child, where are our ‘villages’ today? Where are the communities of people, of all ages and stages, that together help grow our children? We could name our extended families, families of close friends, schools, sports clubs as ‘villages’. Here children mix with adults who build them up through input and experience. I believe church community, at its best is another wonderful ‘village’.
Building ‘villages’ for children to grow in takes effort. We know the pressures which undermine such communities: individualism, a consumer approach to life, lack of time, isolation, closed friendships, low trust, disconnection of generations, tribalism, and more. Against these pressures, can we make choices to build ‘villages’? Consider how geography impacts building a community. Studies show increased time spent commuting by car is associated with ‘higher prevalence of low social participation and low general trust’. If we attend school, work or a church near us, we are more likely to run into people we know at the local park or supermarket. Choosing more of life geographically nearer to our homes strengthens our community. Yet as we know, living near our work, schools, clubs, churches is not a straightforward choice.
Consider what choices you can make to build ‘villages’. We are not completely powerless in a chaotic world. I am of the view a community that is good for children, is good for everyone. For this reason, it can be also true, it takes children to raise a village.
Jason Photo by www.todaysparent.com