The Village

Sometimes when we’re offered help as parents we can see that as failure on our part. We believe that we’re only being offered the help because those people don’t believe we can do it all on our own. I believe this comes from the ideal picture of a “perfect mother” that has been created specifically through television. She always has everything done. The house is neat and tidy, dinner is ready waiting on the table and everything about her and her household is just perfect.

This has given us the idea that perfection proves that we’re doing a good job. Having it all done ourselves is not perfection, really it is just exhausting.

The whole idea of having a “Village” is having everyone feel valued. Not only does it bless you when someone offers their help around your house or with your children, it also makes them feel needed and valued. This creates a beautiful safe place for your child to grow in.

A village doesn’t have to come from just your immediate or extended family. Schools, playgroups, sports teams, neighbours and more are all amazing places to start your village. A close group of friends is often what your village will look like. In any circumstances a village of family, friends or strangers all have to be intentional and planned to happen.

Sometimes as parents we can be nervous to have people around our children who think differently than us. But this actually helps us and our children to learn that there are people out there who are different. Perhaps in their beliefs, the way they talk or how their family operates. This teaches us to value them. Being a part of the village is not all about the warm and fuzzies, it’s also about the awkward times, people saying and thinking things you don’t agree with and learning how to understand and cope with that. I think the village helps create resilience in children. It can help children become more grateful for the parents and family they have. Obviously we have to be careful who we choose to expose our children to, but some exposure allows them to look outside their family unit.

We also don’t have to be limited by being a part of one village. There can be lots of different little villages that provide us and our children with different things and knowledge.

I wanted to share my overall encouragement for parents who are wanting to create their own village. So here it is.

It starts by being humble and vulnerable and letting people see our imperfections and need for help. Make the connections, deliberately connect with people who are different from you as well and know that it will benefit your children immensely.