Look around you: Who makes up your village?

The African Proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ has been used for various reasons over the years to look at the institution of family and the raising of children. I personally like the proverb and use it quite often when speaking to various interest groups and environmental awareness groups I frequently deal with. I talk about the nature of our culture and what it will really take to make a difference environmentally in this world we live in.

However, I put a little twist on the saying because it may take a village [read large group of people] to raise a child, but in my opinion one’s village doesn’t go away when we become adults. In fact out village get’s larger. And this larger core group of people I also believe grows and evolves as we age.

It can range from the college professors we befriend, or the mechanic we exclusively use to the pastor or spiritual leader we choose to listen to.

So I ask, who is part of your village and who in your world do you think influences you as an adult, and do you count them as someone in your village?

I am a rock, I am an i-i-i-i-sland. :smiley:

The Dope, dude. Dope is a village.

I am rather isolated geographically from my friends and family, who are scattered all over the country. My closest friend lives an hour away.

There are five people who influence me regularly as an adult. Obviously relationships have lot of complexities and purpose, but I think these five people influence me in different ways.

My husband– totally reinforces my healthy behaviors and calls me on my bad ones. Though our personalities are different, he is always supportive. Of my four relationships, this is the most ‘‘equal’’–he is usually on the same wavelength as me and gets excited about the same ideas. We’re a team. Rock.

My grandmother–She keeps me selfless, because she needs me. Her identity is based on how much time and energy she gives to her grandchildren, but nobody really takes care of her. It brings me a lot of pleasure to be able to focus on her needs. And of course, whenever I need her, she is always there.

My grandfather–He works very hard taking care of others, too, but nobody seems to appreciate it very much. I know he is proud of me for taking responsibility for my own life and for the wonderful marriage I am building, and his very presence reminds me to always act in ways that will make him proud of me.

My aunt–She lives in New York now, and in many ways it’s like a gaping empty hole in my heart. I began life at her side; she knows me better than anyone does, possibly even myself. She always treated me like an equal and gave me the benefit of the doubt so many times. She is the person who reminds me to enjoy life, and I can call her up any time for advice. I can trust she will give it to me straight.

My sister-in-law–She’s 16. For reasons I’m not going into here, a lot of the responsibility for her well being has landed on the shoulders of me and my husband. I’m certain she is preparing me for parenthood, because if I love my future kids even half as much as I love this girl, I’m going to be a wonderful parent. She has taught me the meaning of what it means to love someone unconditionally.

You know, in my head I started out with three people, then four, then five, the list keeps growing… so I’ll leave it at that. But yes. I am so incredibly blessed.

Absolutely - eventhough we don’t always have a face to go with it , the Dope definitely acts as a village. For some more than other’s I’m sure.

Very nice Olives

I don’t necessarily disagree with you, and in fact everyone from commune dwelling hippies to Catholics in their parish schools and churches actually behave this way in real life.

However, in contemporary political discourse, this African proverb has been hopelessly politicized by a certain politician and her numberless critics.

It is unfortunate that this is so, but it is so, and perhaps your speech would be improved by steering away from this quote (which even if not politicized, by now has become trite.)

My suggestions:

“Today we know that all living beings who strive to maintain life and who long to be spared pain - all living beings on earth are our neighbors” - Albert Schweitzer

“The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor.” - Hubert H. Humphrey

“Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.” - Confucius

My (our–Himself and mine both) village is my family, which is local, his family, also local, my co-workers and some of their families, his co-workers (the ones we like) and their families, our neighbors and a few other friends who are from past jobs and neighborhoods, and for me, my online communities–he has no equivalent there. Although he does know a few of my online friends, and I’ve shared stories and photos from several others (like **GunsnSpot ** and wring).

If I think about my older son, his village is better thought of as a complex Ven diagram:

Family at the middle
Church (overlaps with Scouts)
Soccer (overlaps school, scouts, baseball and neighborhood)
Baseball (overlaps school & soccer)
Boy Scouts (overlaps church, school, soccer and neighborhood)
School (overlaps all except church)
Neighborhood (overlaps all)