We've all heard the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child".
"It takes a village to raise a child" is actually an African proverb that basically means that an entire community of people need to interact with a child in order for them to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Essentially, the child must be around many different parts of the village to become a well-rounded individual.
As I wander aimlessly through my crash course in being a Mom, I've learned just how true that statement really is. It 100 percent takes a village to raise a child. You need those people in your inner circle to boost you up and help you along the way. You need that friend that's been a Mom and always has the perfect advice. You need that family member who is always willing to babysit when you're in a bind. You need that cousin that treats your child like a sibling. Being a parent is freaking hard. Really freaking hard. Having that village around you can make all the difference. In all honesty, having that village (no matter the size) is everything. It. Is. Everything.
But how many people do you need in your village? Is there some magical number? Some sweet spot range of villagers that will make or break your child having a successful upbringing?
I can only speak from my own experience, but I don't think it takes some preset amount of people.There is no super secret formula to raising the perfect child... I mean what the hell is perfect anyways? I don't even think you need all that many villagers...
I think what matters most is what your villagers bring to the table. Quality over quantity. Friends and family who understand the incredible impact that they can have on your child, and because of that, they take the opportunity seriously. The people that choose your child should be a part of your village. The ones who have no obligation to you, but choose to be in your tribe. The ones that have you and your child's best interest at heart no matter what. Any day, any time, any situation. No black out dates, no "I'm sorry, I can't"s. No strings attached.
It turns out that in my experience, that is INCREDIBLY hard to find. Definitely not impossible... but rare. The type of rare, that when you find it, you need to lock it down. Recognize it. Appreciate it. Because at the end of the day, those relationships are all that you have...
The grandparent that is always there, whether you like it or not (most times it is much appreciated!), The great (emphasis on the great!) grandparents that would literally lay down their lives for their great grandchild, the cousin that loves your child like an older sister, the aunt and uncle that impart wisdom and advice when I am at a loss as a parent of a strong willed little girl, and the best friend that is the best possible God Mother that I could have ever chosen...
I owe my family, my happiness, and my life to these wonderful people. These irreplaceable parts of my village. The people that will help me to raise my child in the best possible way that I can.
So maybe your village is small... Or maybe it is getting smaller... It doesn't matter how big your village is. Just be selective with who you let in. Remember that all that matters is love. Love for each other, and love for your child. A child raised in love is a child that will change the world.
Hold your village close. Nothing in life is guaranteed.
I could never express in words how thankful I am to my small village. The few who love my family unconditionally. The few who I never have to wonder about. The few who are always a phone call away, or maybe just a knock away. Thank you.
Who is in your village?