Thursday, March 14, 2013

Where have all the villages gone?

He shaves, he's taller than I am, his voice is deep, he's leaving soon. Who is he? He's Yogli, he's a junior this year, only 1 year left before he is off to college. This got me to thinking. Thinking about him growing up throughout the years and people who were instrumental in helping me raise him. This all lead to the question of "Does it still take a village to raise a child?" 

Case in point, we attended a celebration this past Sunday. The celebration honored the legacy created by the Latchkey/Club Covenant program in Atlanta. After 38 years, this afterschool/summer program closed it's doors. This was the place where Yogli grew up. I still remember driving on Peachtree Road (you know just about every street in Atlanta is named Peachtree), trying to figure out where to turn. The program was housed in a church with a narrow driveway. I remember walking in, meeting Mrs. Walton. Mrs. Walton, a poised and eloquently spoken woman. This woman spoke and Yogli walked right over to her, this meant something. I knew right then and there, this was the place. Mrs. Walton and her crew taught Club Covenant kids how to be respectful, thankful, how to solve problems and gave them all the sense of family. They did all of this through sleepovers, family movie nights, end of the year performances where the kids wrote and acted in their own plays. 

During this time, I was a single parent, working a full-time job. Club Covenant stepped in and became our extended family. I welcomed that. Not sure if many parents in today's world welcome that sort of thing anymore. Where has the sense of community gone? Do parents feel like they don't want anyone else's opinion when it comes to raising their kids?

Yes, today's kids have much more to deal with than when I was a kid. It seems like predators and weirdos are all over the place. We, as parents, want to always protect our kids. Has this contributed to the loss of community? One plus can be social media. With so many parenting blogs and the power of a simple Google search, we can connect with other parents here, there and everywhere. Here's one that I still use today, even though it's thousands of miles away:

Whether you believe it still takes a village to raise a kid or not, we were all designed to commune, not to be an island. Let's join together to bring back the villages.