The African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" has become a phrase that makes many shudder merely by association since Hilary Clinton's book came out a decade ago. This is not a forum to debate the book or her definition of "village" because 1) this wasn't her proverb in the first place, and 2) her village isn't my village. And because, well, I love my village. My village isn't raising my children, but my village makes raising children easier and a whole lot of fun.
Our village consists almost entirely of our homeschooling friends and, from November-April, my parents. In my village, we figure out who has to go where, and when, and how we can best work this out. In my village, just today, my youngest went to another villager's house to play during our AHG camp, because that made them both happy. And I was at ease, knowing he was safe. I have one villager's daughter here with us over the next two days and nights because that makes life easier for that family. And my youngest is spending the next two nights with two other families because that makes life easier for me. And my oldest will get to hang out with another family tomorrow so that he doesn't have to spend the day by himself. And another villager's son is spending the whole week split between two other villagers. And rides here and there--I can't even keep track of all the times we hitch rides with other villagers or they hitch rides with us.
In my village, the dads recognize that sometimes moms need an hour-long phone conversation, a night at Panera and a good book. In my village, we sit by the pool on summer evenings watching our kids swim. In my village, we camp and explore new places and sometimes meet new friends who come all the way from another country to be part of our village. In my village, we talk about curriculum and activities and where to shop for those really cute shirts, while our kids play. In my village, we keep an eye on each other's teenagers and don't hesitate to share concerns. In my village, we pray for each other.
In my village, I know that I have a network of loving families who will, at a moment's notice, be there for our family in whatever way they are needed. I pray that my children will feel the comfort and security of being surrounded not only by our family, but by this solid group of families that truly care for and love them. This is a treasure well worth cherishing, nurturing, and preserving.
Monday, June 18, 2007 - THAT is a village.
Posted by anotherblogonthefire (188.8.131.52)
We have talked about this many times - how blessed y'all are in Blount.
We so often feel like an island.
There are other islands around too, but not many bridges.
We were talking just the other night... "do you think life really would be different in TN?" I said yes - because of the village you have there.
Kristina just read some parts from Crunchy Cons to me (while I was working on the bathroom) that speaks of the importance of the village:
'... the Lawlers relocated their large family from Boston to rural central Massachusetts, and settled around an abbey, which they knew they could make the center of their family's spiritual life. Seven or eight other orthodox Catholic families, all involved in the same schooling method, joined them. Their little community celebrates holidays together, and supports each other through the ups and downs of daily life... if you don't find some kind of community to be a part of, being a countercultural family is almost impossible.'
While I don't think that we need to become orthodox Catholics and move near an abbey, this illustrates how important it is to have a village. Homeschooling is countercultural. Heck, being married to one of the opposite sex and having a family is countercultural. Why does the village our family wants to be a part of have to be in another country?
Does anyone down there in TN want to sponsor us?
(sorry to make my comment almost as long as you blog entry)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - LOL Neal...you'd have lots of sponsors down here!
Posted by eclecticityTia (184.108.40.206)
Sarah said it perfectly...that "village" phrase has come to mind often, especially as we sit here contemplating a major life change move when here we have exactly what we've prayed for for years and years....a community! I don't see how we could leave it, nor how we could really do anything but move back closer to it.
Crunchy Cons is a great book too...in some ways just "preaching to the choir" for us and in others, very redefining.
My kiddos are at camps in Maryville because of their "village" today; not just because that made it easier for us but because without that village, their attendance would have been impossible! Our village changes our lives for the better over and over again.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - I have to say..
Posted by partyoffive (220.127.116.11)
I love being a part of your village...and can't wait to have Duncan with us tonight!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - transitions
Posted by DrHibiscus (18.104.22.168)
Back in college we had a village too. It was a very different village because we all had different interests and priorities than we do now, but it was a village nonetheless. It was a tight-knit group of friends who shared much and looked out for each other. I remember the shock of moving away from that village and being sad thinking that we would never have it again. And for many years in Ohio and Iowa we did not. But now it's back, and in a much fuller and more mature way. Our interests and priorities have changed, but we've found a village that shares many of those interests and priorities, and that makes our whole life much richer. I'm sure that people can live very happy lives without a village, but I'm really glad we don't have to. So to all of you "villagers" out there, thanks.
Hey - maybe we should call ourselves "the village people" :-)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - The Village
Posted by LaDonna (22.214.171.124)
I so TOTALLY love Dr. H's idea of calling it "The Village People!!" I say let's bring up the name change next Monday night!!!! :)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - We can only be THE VILLAGE PEOPLE if ...
Posted by Dad2Three (126.96.36.199)
I get to be the Indian, Randy gets to be the leather-clad biker guy (WITH the HUGE mustache) and Tim Richardson gets to be cowboy.
Thursday, June 21, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by StillHisGirl (188.8.131.52)
You ARE incredibly blessed in your village! I know lots of people in my city/church who homeschool, but a village we're not. My village is made up of other friends and neighbors, but we don't have the homeschooling factor in common, which sometimes is hard. Thank God every day for what you have!!!
Thursday, June 21, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by ApplesofGold (184.108.40.206)Your village sounds wonderful!! I love feeling like a part of a community with the HS families that we are close with, too.