It’s been many years since Hillary Clinton introduced Americans to the African proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” It’s still true and we still aren’t doing it. Lots of our nations’ children have only one caregiver contributing towards raising the child to be a decent human being. More fortunate children may have two people helping to raise them, but the two people might not even live in the same household. Some kids have 3 or 4 individuals trying to raise them, but often there is much fighting amongst the caregivers. Really fortunate kids have two parent figures living with them, raising them cooperatively with the help and support of extended family members and/or friends. The exquisitely blessed children are being raised by the cooperative efforts of the majority of their extended family, operating almost like a village, but does anyone in our country really have the ideal situation of being raised by a village? No, sadly, no one does. However, the fact remains that the more people that cooperatively assist in the raising of children to be decent humans, the more likely it is that a society will produce decent humans. Therefore, the advice, not just to parents, but also to all adult members of our society, is that everyone needs to get involved in the raising of the “village” children.
When you see your neighbor’s children outside playing ball, take the opportunity to get involved, watching, or possibly even playing. When you are in a convenience store and you see an unattended youngster pulling items off the shelf and putting them down elsewhere, interrupt and assist the youngster in putting things back where they belong. When your friends repeatedly cancel outings with you because they are having trouble with their children, go over and double-team the kids by offering your supportive assistance to the parents. When a mom in a check-out line in a grocery store is trying to tell a persistent youngster that he can’t have a candy bar, butt in and lightheartedly assist her by saying something fun and playful that might break up the tension or even empathize with the child that you also can’t have a candy bar and show them how one goes about coping with the disappointment of not being able to have a candy bar. We need to jump in more often and assist in the raising of all of our village’s children. We cannot afford to maintain this ‘not my business’ attitude that has developed in our country. It is your business. That kid playing out in the street today is going to be a Congressman when you are enjoying your retirement. Don’t you want to make sure he knows how to be a decent human being by the time he gets there?