Thursday, 6 December 2007

It takes a village to raise a child



It takes a village to raise a child. I had never heard of this proverb before Suzy sent to me. And thinking about it i think it is so true.


This ancient African proverb teaches eternal truth. No man, woman, or family is an island. But in this century, community isn't always what it is supposed to be. We'd all like to think we live in a place where people care about others -- where people pitch in to help when things get rough -- where it's safe to leave the doors unlocked and let the kids play around outside.

This isn't always what we experience. Instead of community, we find alienation; looking for safety, we are attacked by crime; hoping for a better life for our kids, we encounter gangs and drugs and the lies of television. People often retreat behind closed and try to ignore their neighbors. Politicians preach envy and hate, dividing us further instead of working for reconciliation. Being poor these days just isn't what it used to be.
This affects all our children as times have changed
Nowadays, children are raised to fear and distrust nearly every adult stranger. Teachers and mentors and members of the community are afraid to say anything critical or to offer any form of correction, lest they be sued or directly attacked by the child’s family. Not only that, moral standards and ideals of excellence are seen as social relics of a past, and so need to be discarded. This most certainly is not the sentiment that gave rise to the African proverb.

I think the parents are the primary people responsible for raising the child. That being said, I do think that the "village", or people who affect the child's life definitely have a huge impact on how that child turns out, whether it's for the better or worse. People in general never realize the effect they have on others much less a child and should do all they can to ensure the best outcome possible.

Does the same go for C?
Does C see his life of people shying away from him frightened. So he does the same.
Does he think being ignored or verbally abused is the norm? Maybe that’s why he doesn't speak as he doesn't want to be rude to people!
Does he think it takes everyone years to be treated for being ill. So he puts up with it. Or just thinks that's the way it is. Etc.
It is hardly surprising C knows no better and its not just down to his autism or learning disability.
After all children grow up and learn from the ‘village’ around them.

It is happening to all our children.
And a thank you to Mootia for my lovely award!

39 comments:

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

Sadly this is so true. For so many, the village may no longer be a safe place to be nurtured. And when this is the case, it puts so much greater burden on the child's parents to take on the role of 'village' on their own.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

A well thought out blog, Casdok. To think being ignored or verbally abused is the norm is a very cruel way society have impressed upon us. That's what parents are there for. To protect.

Crystal xx
P.S. Thank you for your WW award!!

Blossomcottage said...

What an interesting blog, I think mankind has lost its way a bit I agree with you when you say children are growing up with " mistrust " well up their list of emotions and its so sad.
John Donne wrote

"No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were;
any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Prehaps things will change and we will once again become first a village and then a world once more.
Blossom

Nancy said...

This is my favorite post of yours.
Sad in thought, but beautifully written.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Another excellent post Casdok! One of the positive things I've found about not having money is that those around me who are in similar situations (mainly working on low wages though) we all pull together in very much a community where we all help each other in a way I never experienced when I lived in more financially priviledged circumstances. BG x

Rhonda said...

It's amazing to think that we are all connected to each other. To think otherwise seems foolish.

Thanks for the thought provoking post.

captain corky said...

Scares the hell out of me.

Tattie Weasle said...

I love this saying and know how true it is. It is hard being different and hard if you have no one to support you but in the course of my life I have come across the most extraorindary people in the most ordinary of situations and for all the ones too scared to think differntly there are those who embarce it and they are inspirational - just like you!

bullet said...

It can help so much when people are understanding and supportive and hurt so much when they're not.

Faith said...

Oh how true this blog is.

buffalodickdy said...

First- Thanks for award! I've gotten a few from bloggers, which I appreciate- but don't know how to post!
"It takes a village" is a phrase that became popular in America a few years back as a catch phrase for a political agenda. The premise is excellent, and I have always said most of us live in "villages" that are too big to function as villages. Youth group activities from schools or churches, adult activities at work or social gathering places create this village atmosphere the most in the USA. I wish people would get
more of it in their neighborhoods- like it used to be. Thank the mass media for creating overfear of everybody and everything- it's good for business....

Niksmom said...

Very thoughtful and though provoking post, Casdok. I think it becomes even more isolating when you have children with any sort of special needs, be they educational, developmental, physical, health, etc. That is why I blog -- to try to create my own village where I am not so alone and my child can be safe(r) and cared for or about in ways not possible in the "real" world. Sad testimony but true.

Thanks for sharing yourself in my village and welcoming me into yours. xo

Swearing Mother said...

A very profound post, and I agree with what you say. But things do turn around, people are beginning to want their communities back, living in isolation isn't what we all want. Even on the internet, we form close knit communities giving each other advice and support.

I like that, a bit of a global village but caring nonetheless.

Best wishes.

lime said...

you know, when i lived in trinidad there was real community there. peopel looked out for each other. neighbors were rpoactive in checking on us to make sure things were ok. back here in the ststes, nto a single neighbor came to check on us after an ambulance came to the house and took me away in it. sad commentary.

BBC said...

"It takes a village to raise a child."

I have used that for years, it's mentioned in at least one of my old posts. I'm also fond of adding "It takes a village to raise an idiot".

In fact I addressed that on my other less read blog this morning.

mumkeepingsane said...

This is something I think about a lot. Sometimes in the middle of the worst times I can be heard whispering "where's my village". Nice post.

Suzy said...

Wonderful thought provoking post.

Also, what happens to the child when the "village" fails and in some cases, add the abusiveness of home life to their development.

People must make children, all children and a priority.
Actually, it would be wonderful to extend that to all mankind.

mommy~dearest said...

I agree with Suzy. It is absolutely true that it takes a village...but the village has to be open to the task.

Support is so crucial to children. We have had such terrible times with our community, that I had to move. I went into debt, and am failing miserably at providing what my family needs, just to have better support.

And it is totally worth it.

doggybloggy said...

NYC...I have to pick my 'villagers' carefully

kristina said...

A friend has written to me, what if all parents scrutinized their child's education and growth as carefully as parents of autistic children did? Imaging the village then.......

Kate said...

I have friends whos daughter is now 17 and is autistic/non verbal. I have watched her grow up. She actually can sign some... but no speaking. She used to have more communication ability than she does now. I am not sure why that is. My friends had to fight to get her integrated into the public school district where they lived in PA. It worked, though I dont think it was any real help to the child. The socialization was a source of anxiety more than comfort. Gosh... I have so many stories. Both good and bad as I am sure you do. I will say that having known Missy was really wonderful, especially for my children. They learned not to be fearful of difference... and to embrace the gifts she had to give. (Ie she was great with puzzles)


I have heard the expression (and used it as well!) I have 3 children very close in age (12,12 & 14) I really needed my village when they were young... I remember getting a call from a neighbor telling me that one of my kids didnt look both ways b4 crossing the street (he was about 8 at the time) and I was able to talk to him about it later... all the kids thought I had eyes on the back of my head! I guess in fact, I did... just not my own!

I have recently moved from PA to Florida and it is definitely NOT the same here. I dont feel the community I did there. It scares me as my children are approaching the ages where they will be exploring things... going off on their own... and I really could use eyes on the back of my head now!

Wow I wrote a book. Sorry, but your post was really touching! THanks!

Suffolkmum said...

I love that proverb and am curently using it a lot since our village school may be under threat. Communities DO still exist; they're just being eroded, like the extended family. Lovely post.

Odat said...

The "village" today, sadly, is not ideal...so parents have to do all they can to ensure the children are raised with love, so they can go out and spread it among the villages they will build.
Peace

Bev said...

Very insightful post. Thanks.

Ange said...

yes the village. I was just thinking about this today. The balance between protecting my boys from the larger village and nuturing them in an artificial one because of my own fear, distrust, and uncertainty... but then remembering that they are a part of the bigger village and their time spent there will grow as the get older. For this reason, I have to keep reminding myself the importance of nurturing the villiage.

MotherPie said...

Yes, it takes a village. I'm not sure if our kids today -- any kids -- realize that... our sense of community has shifted considerably.

This comment is from a nonBlogger, with a link only back to my site via my inserting it in this place by handwriting the coding to give a link back MotherPie which is a real hassle and involves a lot of cut/paste.

Blogging has stimulated conversation among virtual/real friends but Blogger, by altering the commenting structure, has limited comments only to Google's bloggers using the Blogger platform. Crummy move, Google/Blogger. See my post on this: Blogger Comment Changes Stink. Period. Use Haloscan for commenting - the link is in my post comments.

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

I'm very fortunate that the village raises the child' still goes where I live. It really is a safe area (apart from the occasional flasher!)

Get Off My Lawn! said...

This is a common saying in Aboriginal communities in Canada. There is not one door in this village where a child could knock and not get food or shelter. It actually takes some getting used to. Kids feel absolutely free to enter my house without knocking and I can't walk around with food unless I am willing to share with anyone who wants some. If a kid offers you something, take it, whether you want it or not. If you don't, they get really mad and feel like you're acting better than them and wouldn't touch their gum. It was a culture shock for me, but worth it. But I can't see mainstream culture going this way. Instead, the young here are learning to be less involved with each other. Thanks for making me reflect.

Coffee Messiah said...

Oh yeah, it all starts at home but indeed also involves those around you in whatever environment you find yourself in.

BTW, I worked with a man who also had an autistic child many years ago, and although a bit sad, it also was quite fascinating that he and his wife worked very hard to make their home a comfortable place for him. Lots of understanding and sadly for them, even less fortunate as many friends did not see the humanity behind the child.

Cheers from the usa! ; )

Cathy said...

Wonderful post and so, so true.

Jade said...

Really liked this post. Got my mind stimulated.

Hope your day is ending peacefully!

Cait O'Connor said...

Yes I agree. Today's children, all children,know no different, this is the society they have been born into and are growing up in. Luckily there is still a sense of community where I live but when the children grow they have to leave and encounter the real world and the ghastliness is all around anyway, on the TV, the news etc.

Dr. Deb said...

You are right...community needs to be more involved in so many ways.

Angela said...

I love your blog...I have a nephew with autism and it is so refreshing that you are out here sharing this.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Love the post, and love that you quoted my buddy, Suzy!

Hannah Velten said...

It's a real shame that the 'village' is breaking down - although I am very lucky to live in such a 'village' where children are involved in village life and there is great support and facilities for those with children...I'm sure it makes for a happier community.

By the way, I would like to award you with the Blogging Community Involvement Award - which is on my site - you thoroughly deserve it, with your regular, thought-provoking and entertaining posts about autism and your lovely son, C. Although I have absolutely no connection with autism, I can see that you are a leading support unit for other parents and you have opened my eyes, and I'm sure many others, to autism. Thank you, Casdok.
(If you feel that you don't want to accept the award, or show it on your blog then I will understand - but I just wanted you to know that your blog is appreciated!)...Mootia x

Casdok said...

Thank you Mootia! And even more so as i have reaced someone with no connection with autism!

Stomper Girl said...

I think this proverb is so true, and I think western culture, with it's security doors and fenced off properties, is often the poorer for forgetting this.

*Coop* said...

We can start emphasizing new values in people, old and young, today. We can easily teach tolerance, love, peace, understanding and helping one another. We can easily do it! But we don't because it's difficult. It's so much easier to allow television and music to become our village. We have to reclaim our villages!
You're so insightful. And i'm just on the 2nd post!