The question is: does it really take a village to raise a child? Is it possible to raise a child alone, with no other influences? Short of living in isolation somewhere, the answer has to be no. As soon as the child leaves the side of the parent for any reason, he is exposed to other people – whether it be at daycare, school, on a team, at a friend’s house, in the neighborhood, or online. What these other people think, say, do, and believe are thrust upon the child – whether they like it or not, believe it or not, agree with it or not.
Some things are purposely directed at a child in the form of instruction, conversation, or participation. Fortunately or unfortunately, there is so much more that is simply in the presence, earshot, or environment of a child which, by osmosis, can have quite an effect on them. Kids begin talking, walking, behaving, and thinking much like that to which they have been exposed.
So, in these ways, the village does participate in the raising of our children. This is why parents of toddlers to teens are, and should be, cautious about the influences around their children.
Everything seen, heard, and experienced through the senses is taken in by the brain. Whether or not one can consciously render or access these things at will seems to be less important than the influential effect they have on character, self-providence, decision-making, perspective, behavior, and thinking.
The village raising today’s child is very different than the one that helped raise up children of decades gone by. This difference can be attributed to many factors, including shifts in social norms, the breakdown of the family unit, a decrease in neighborhood and community relationships, and increased reliance on social media for our information and communication.
It can be argued that the internet – its parts, and all the reactions to it – make up an inordinate share of the village of 2018. Kids are exposed to things online that they would have a hard time getting access to in their neighborhoods or from their friends. Images, ideas and comments flood their minds, shaping the very mechanics of the brain as it forms around the incessant flickering lights of the many illuminated screens. Screens, including TV, streaming services, social media, and video games, that can easily fill up to 7 or more hours of every day.
So, what are parents and the keepers of upcoming generations to do? Isn’t it obvious? We lead our children, so if we don’t like where they’re heading, we must first look to ourselves; then take action to change the trajectory of our children’s lives. We are the village, and as such have a responsibility to each upcoming generation to teach and train them – actively or by passive example – to be productive, moral, citizens. Along with that comes the obligation to protect our kids from those in the village that would aim to lead them astray or harm them.
Here are a few more old sayings that may be useful in this endeavor: Kindness is contagious; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; Help those that cannot help themselves; and An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Now, go be the change you wish to see in the world.
#notafraidtothink #ittakesavillage #notsheeple