Author: JC Gardner
Title: Who’s Left in the Village?
It takes a Village to Raise a child is a popular phrase used to describe how the entire neighborhood has some sort of responsibility to lookout for the youth in that community. I grew up in such a neighborhood where I had several “parents” who would not hesitate to call me out when I was out of line both to my face or to my parents’. I would not dare talk back or “jump bad” while being chastised if I wanted to live to see another day! It was that deep-rooted respect that I had for adults and it was an unwritten code among the parents to keep each other informed of what we were doing. Having this kind of human security meant that you got away with little and at the same time, it kept you in check because you never knew who might be watching.
Sadly for many communities, the village concept has eroded. Most of these traditions have gone to the wind. People have become more secluded and less friendly. Invisible but noticeable barriers have been erected to keep folks out instead of inviting them in.
The“mothers” of yesteryear are now grandmothers. A few of them may still be in a parenting role, as teenage births are still prevalent. But their influence has been diminished, maybe even shunned. If they did say something negative about your child, it probably would not be well received. Who are they to say such a thing? We’d rather stay in the dark than be approached by a nosy neighbor all up in our business. After all, our children are perfect and without fault – not!
There are many single mothers today. In the same vain, I’ve never met so many forty-year-old grandmothers. There are a number of single mothers still in high school. There has to be enormous pressure to not only succeed as a single parent, but just to make things work, for example, managing finances, maintaining gainful employment, and having a place to call home. Not having that strong father figure in the home leaves a void. In no means am I discrediting all of the valiant and successful single parent homes. Having two parents just makes it easier, especially where boys are concerned.
Times have definitely changed. Kids used to be outside playing with each other, learning social skills, teamwork and fairness. Now the television has taken over. I am a big fan of some video games. They can be fun and engaging, even educational. Some have fitness modules. But there are interactive games where you are able to do dangerous role playing. Many of these games have an age restrictions but let’s be real! I’ve seen that rule broken plenty of times. You are the criminal, the shooter, the
reckless driver. And since this is a way for the child to express his/herself, when they get out in the real world, that“criminal minded” attitude stays with them without a filter. And more than ever, kids have access to loaded guns and knives and are not hesitant to use them. It seems respect for adults and authority is at an all-time low. They’ll cuss out adults to their face. And we already know the situation with bullies.
I’m not sure who is manning the fort these
days. The news recently showed where a parent drove her child to the bus stop so
she could fight another child. Is this the new village mother?
Lord help us.