I’m a self-sufficient kind of gal and I come from a long line of hard working self-sustaining people.
I remember hearing my family talk about that phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child” as if it were heresy. Back then it had a political meaning that they didn’t support, but I took it to mean that I should never need emotional, spiritual, or practical help as a parent and if I did, I must be doing something wrong.
So I did it right in the early years when my children were small, maintaining my independence and managing to take care of everyone’s needs, but now as a single mom, it’s ridiculous how much help I need. I’ve needed friends to take my children overnight when I’ve had to go out of town. I’ve needed my children to drive each other to work when my schedule wouldn’t allow me to drive. I’ve needed the bus to take my children to and from school. I’ve needed my neighbor to let my dog in when we forgot and left her out. That one is always embarrassing. I’ve needed my parents and aunts and uncles to help my oldest daughter in college because she is 1400 miles away. I’ve needed youth leaders to teach my children and connect with them in ways I am not able. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
I used to be the mom with the giant SUV who could transport gaggles of children in carpool. I used to be the mom who hosted youth group meetings, giant sleepovers, and fun parties. I used to be the mom who cooked dinner every night. I used to be the mom with a cleaner house. I used to be the mom who prayed with my kids every night. I used to be and do a lot of things. And I felt successful because I didn’t need much help from other parents.
I had my life together and I had no need of a village.
Today I need a village because I need help. And I am grateful for all the help I have received, but I rarely get to pay those parents back. There is nothing more humbling than receiving a gift that you can never repay. They don’t have the same needs as I do, so for now they don’t need me to be a part of their village, but I need them as a part of mine.
Village life is the way that the Christian life is meant to be lived.
God put us in a body of believers so that the foot could need the hand and the eye could need the nose. We were never designed to be all the parts. We need each other’s skills, strengths, and gifts. We were designed to live in a village, connected to each other and connected to God. That keeps us out of isolation and loneliness and it gives us a place to belong.
It does take a village to raise our children and that is a good thing.
For just as each of us has one body with many members,
and these members do not all have the same function,
so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
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