Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without the advice of others.
Prov 20:18

Uncommon Ways - Raising children

It takes a village to raise a child

Why reinvent the wheel? Every time Ali and I encounter a new phase of life – marriage, first car, first home, first child, debt, toddlers, school and teachers, teens, the first one leaves home, we would inevitably look to those who’ve gone before us and ask them what they did. We listen, we talk, we ask questions, and then…
…we synthesized. We listened to each other – what had we taken from all the counsel, what does the Bible say, what do our leaders recommend, and then we act.
It saved us from a lot of unnecessary battles and failures. Sure, we still made mistakes – loads of them – but I can only imagine how many more we would have made if we hadn’t taken counsel.
Counsel doesn’t mean just in times of difficulty. We constantly amass good strategies for tackling life in our home. At one point I thought we’d eventually have our lives running on all cylinders, but each season seems to upset some aspect of our groove. There’s always need for adjusting, and realigning, so good counsel never goes out of style.
There’s an old adage that says “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think we have lost some of this over the decades with the prominence of individualism, political correctness and pluralism. We are largely for “what is good for me” marriages and families. As a result, we’ve seen people foray into ubiquitous partner swapping and infidelity. We’ve seen the rise of the child as the centre of the family – where the child’s needs and wants outweigh what’s best for the family. Heaven forbid if social standards for manners and socially acceptable boundaries are thrown aside – tried and true standard of respect and honour are abandoned. This leads to unbridled and undisciplined children who are free to speak unruly to their parents and other adults, have temper tantrums that are left unchecked, because we as parents have encouraged our children to think we’re equals and they are not in need of discipline.
We have such a wealth of knowledge in those whom have gone before us. People who have walked the walk and learned which way to go and which way to avoid.
As a result, Ali and I – since our children were babies – have fostered extensive interaction between our children and those in our church. We are grateful for the families who said they wanted to take our children for an evening or afternoon, or even overnight. We knew that our children were being parented by other adults we trusted and we knew that they would grow with a healthy respect and honour of those in our community. And, they would recognize their part of a bigger community than our nuclear family. It has helped shape them to be very comfortable seeking counsel from many advisors now. They reach out to people in their 20s to 80s for insight, advice and to listen to their stories. But that would not have happened, I don’t believe, if we hadn’t started with them when they were young, exposing them to our wider community and trusting those individuals with our most precious possession – our children’s well-being.
It is true that it takes a village to raise a child. And I, for one, am grateful.


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