The village is being pillaged.
We laugh from sanctified perches.
Generations march idly by
Robbed in hindsight.
Robbed in hindsight.
The village is now empty.
I remember being about 13 yrs old with the audacity to cross my legs in church. I paid no attention to the fact that my skirt rose up over my knees. I was young and maybe I didn't care. But, She did. A mother, of the church walked towards me with contempt on her face, shaking out a white hanky with a white lace edge until it snapped loudly, breaking the air. "Fast tailed girl!" she hissed as she placed it over my knees concealing my goodies. She walked away rolling her eyes at the audacity of my brazenness.
She was not having it, not in her church, and not on her watch. She marched right over to my grandmother; I watched them whisper, then glance over at me. The frown on my Grandma's face was clear. I knew what was going to happen on the way home. I adjusted the hanky on my knees and waited in uneasy anticipation of what was to come because I embarrassed Grandma at Village headquarters...church! The family, the church, the neighborhood, the school, and the corner market were all parts of the Village.
Lately, we've officially lost that One Village feeling. The Village is missing in massive proportions. Why? Do we no longer need a Village to raise a child?
Why are we afraid to talk to the children of our dear friends if we catch them misbehaving outside of their parents watchful eyes? Why do we not snatch the pants up of Young Junior and tell him to go put on a belt! Or explain to Little Miss Fast Tail privately how to come before the Lord instead of whispering and pointing at her from almighty sanctified perches. "That's a shame..tsk, tsk, tsk." Yes, it is a shame, but if you're not going to help then you've lost your right to gossip. That little boy in despair, most likely doesn't have a man around. God said for us to allow the fatherless to eat and be satisfied by the works of our hands and He will bless us. (Deuteronomy 14:29) He was talking about you and me. You are the village; I am the village...We are all accountable.
You know what is both missing and present in massive abundance. FEAR. We live in it, then we hide because of it and get behind it.
We live in fear that the wrong somebody is going to tell our child what to do. It's a valid fear. However you have to trust someone, and why not start with your immediate village. Your neighbor is home when you are away, and can let you know/or shut down what is really going on while the cat's away. I don’t mind telling the neighborhood boys go put on shoes, no fighting, or pick up trash left in my yard. Yet, my guard rises quickly if I see any suspicious actions in my neighborhood. I care about their safety. They are my boys too!
We don't want our child to fear us; let alone their teacher. If they don't like their 5th grade teacher, we go off on the teacher, knowing little Brad is hard to handle at home instead of instilling dread in him of coming home after a long day of acting up in school. WE must work with other figures of authority and not against. When children realize this, they think twice. My child does not fear me, but he is afraid of the consequences. In the beginning: Adam and Eve were in the garden, and scurried to cover themselves when they heard the voice of the Lord. Why? They were afraid of the consequences of disobeying the Supreme Authority Figure. (Gen 3:10)
We live in fear that somebody (whoever that is) will think we are a bad parent. Even parents need a village, a "what can I do with this boy" consortium to bounce ideas and strategies. Don't be ashamed to reach out! I remember once boo-hooing at the altar and my good friend, wrapped her arms around me. I told her what was wrong because she had 3 great adult kids, so she had been there/done it all. She snatched J up and through clenched teeth told him, "Keep stressing your mama out, hear. You will be at my house for the weekend, and it won't be fun. She is all you have and if she gave up on you today who would you have?" He began to cry, he knew the answer. She hugged and kissed him and told him she loved him and prayed with us. Nope, it didn't hurt me one bit to have someone outside of my family chastise my child. I trust and respect her. I mean she still chastises Me, his Mom, whenever she deems necessary.
I look back on all my public displays of chastisement. All of them shaped who I am today. I am grateful for every single experience, for every finger that ever wagged disapprovingly in my face, for every time I heard fast tailed girl while I was told "go put on a slip!"
If this were a democracy the Village would be the Senate and Congress and I, the President. If governing parties work against each other, nothing gets accomplished. I have a huge job on my hands, and I need my village. I need the help, the guidance, and support on those dark days when I’ve exhausted all avenues! You give me extra fuel. Thank you for being my cheerleader/coach/ and especially mediator. It's not like J came with a manual or something ;-). What do I know about Raising a Man?
My son needs me. True. But, he needs your eyes in the back of my head to catch what I've missed. Although the Village went out of style like neighborhood watch and block parties, can I ask a favor? If you ever see my J out in the big wide world acting up, just give him the Eye or an Earful and call me. Trust and believe We will make a man out of that boy yet!
Please park your opinion, I'd love to know your thougts!
Check back Soon: The Trials of Raising a Man Pt III: Excuse Me, Mine is missing the manual...