There is an old African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. And the sooner we acknowledge & work towards this, the easier and more meaningful parenting would be.
This village was in the form of neighbors, a large family, relatives, family friends, teachers & whoever wished us well & was willing to contribute in our parenting.
I remember when we were growing up in the ’80s, we were part of a village of our own. This village ensured-
– we were always someone’s pet & in turn always had a favourite aunt/uncle
– learnt something from everyone by observing dynamics of relationships, power, favoritism, unconditional love and other myriad feelings
– we were exposed to various cultures, traditions, festivities, cuisines and even professions
– there was always someone who had time for us, to listen to us, play with us, care for us, answer our questions
– we learnt from real experiences not only books, and definitely not simulated environments
– there was always a home with its doors open, a lady willing to lovingly look over us & feed us as/with her own brood
– playdates were not an orchestrated event, it was our whole life
– the mother was always assured that her child was safely in some other mother’s care, giving her the much needed breather to complete her chores
Today many households are nuclear, with a single child, and sometimes with both parents working. Making it squarely the responsibility of the two parents to play all the roles required to raise a balanced and happy child! They have to care for the child, feed him, play with him, entertain him; along with carrying out their other household, professional & social duties.
This requires mammoth organisational skills, time, resources, sacrifices and enough energy to power a whole village in itself. Jokes apart, it is actually asking a lot. No wonder tired parents take the help of technology from time to time to keep their children engaged. And themselves risk a burn out.
Today ‘Mamas, mausis, buas’ have been replaced by ‘maids and drivers’. It has made the process detached, programmatic and with trust issues.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tribe to make this journey of parenthood easier & meaningful.
– A friend who is also the bus in-charge who will wipe away your child’s tears when he cries on the first day to school
– A mother who can receive your child from the bus stop if you are running behind schedule
– A friend who can send over dinner just because you don’t feel like cooking today
– A mother who can look after your older child while you take the younger one for vaccination
With collaboration comes friendly, well meaning advice, help & love; which makes the journey of raising children so much easier & joyful.
The village has one, and only one rule- Take with right, but it give back equally to the pool with love. So look for a tribe near you. Its joys will fill your and your child’s life. If you don’t find one, start one of your own.
‘Saying that I am not responsible for somebody else’s child, is like saying I am not responsible for somebody else’s air. In the end, the choices we make about our world and our children affect us all. No child is someone else’s child. A child is simply a child.’
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