The Village is Missing

They say it takes a village to raise a child but I often find myself speculating how a proverb invented by western society that romanticizes African traditions is even relevant in western society.

Who are the village when your neighbourhood consists of strangers who might only appear to ask if you could bring their bins in next week or report you to local council for trimming a tree without a permit?

Maybe the village is the broader community; people who offer encouragement in a supermarket aisle or pull up a toddler’s behaviour in a busy cafe while parents attend to a crying baby.  It could mean family but that’s a village becoming increasingly fractured.

Relationships break down, people are in paid employment longer and for every grandparent that babysits grandchildren there are plenty with the attitude of “I’ve done my time”.  So the village might become child care centres with their two year waiting lists, friends and after-school care.

Then there are the children that have special needs or the 10,000 to 21,000 Australians with children under 15 also caring for elderly parents; the “sandwich generation”.  I can only imagine that both are incredibly unpredictable and often go un-rewarded.  Both financially and by society.   That’s a village that can start to get complicated.

So I guess the elusive village exists it might just be difficult to find and is open to interpretation.  I believe helping to raise a child means supporting the primary care-giver so they can be a better parent or being there for a child when a parent can’t be.  And when I hear someone use the “it takes a village” line it somewhat diminishes that meaning and just feels like a tired cliche.

What’s your interpretation of a “village”?  Maybe you found yours and can share with people how you did it?

Linking up for Glow’s final FlogYoBlog Friday


  1. says

    My village is my family and my childcare centre and my neighbour.

    We are lucky to live in the same city as both sets of grandparents but Jaden’s daycare is just so wonderful. It is a very small, family owned centre and all the carers treat the kids like their own. Jaden is one of only a couple kids who is there every day and whenever he has a day off they just miss him so much. He has developed a huge amount in their care and I truly believe that the beautiful little boy he is is a combination of the influences he gets from us, his daycare, his grandparents and cousins.

  2. says

    I have a nice neighbour but I wouldn’t say i’d leave my girl with them.. my “village” just consists of my family members for sure.

    Our govt here has an initiative to bring back the village {or kampong, in Malay} spirit back to Singapore. Not sure how well that will turn out…

  3. says

    You raise a good point. Where is the village? We do develop a sense of community from where we live and work. This in turn helps our children learn about the value of relationships. Without that community (or village) everyone is just a faceless, nameless person.

    I am lucky enough to live in a small rural community. While I do not depend on the locals to care for my children, our association with them is teaching my children the importance of good manners, consideration for others, and gratitude. My girls have conversations with the shop keepers and would never think of being rude to them or behaving poorly in their place of business. They understand that the people in their ‘village’ have names, and families and feelings.

    • Mrs.Savage says

      Rural communities are great for that aren’t they? There is a tiny element of that in our local shopping village but I think it is unfortunately depleting with time and development. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Pretty Sister Savage says

    I have a village!!! My family are my back bone, my neighbours are kind to my children and my friends support me and my children in everything that we do…I’ve found my tribe and I’m happy with that!! Without this network, there is no way in the world that I could have dealt with what life has handed out to me…I’m very, very lucky with my village x

    • Mrs.Savage says

      You have a pretty good tribe if I do say so myself. I also want to pinch some of your friends, they’re keepers x

  5. Lizass says

    I’ve actually always quite liked that saying, possibly because I’ll never have children of my own and it makes me feel like I’m still an important member of the village. Without a doubt, my treasured siblings and their beautiful children are my village – and i’ll be knocking on their doors to let me for the rest of their lives, whether they like it or not! So perhaps it’s people like me who overuse the term :)

    • Mrs.Savage says

      That’s because you are an important member of the village. Our door is always open, and I promise no more emergency visits!

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