We need the extended family members and community leaders
There were three weeks I anticipated as a child. My summers were great. God blessed me with grandparents (my mother's mother and stepfather). They had a way of making me feel safe and loved. Those weeks produced some of the best memories of my life.
They did not have much according to society's standards. The three-bedroom apartment they lived in, folks considered to be in a substandard neighborhood. There was no television because my grandmother did not watch it at the time. For the longest time, they did not own transportation.
Some may ask why did I enjoy being there so much. My grandmother was a praying woman. She prayed and read her Bible at least four times a day out loud. I was overjoyed when she called out her children and grandchildren names as she talked to God. She communicated well with children. We cooked, did chores, and walked to many places together. There was some correcting as well. God, family, and church were her treasures.
My grandfather had a positive outlook on life. His injury on his low-income job caused other job prospects to be limited. He accepted work from wealthy Caucasians. I never heard him complain about his life. He always kept a smile on his face.
My cousins, siblings, and I would be there together. As long as we completed our chores, the noise of us children running and playing did not bother her. However, fitting each other was not permitted. "Family can disagree but not with anger or disgust. All we have is each other", she often said.
Granddaddy was always giving us unsolicited advice. "Yall kids need to take that schooling seriously. One day it will take a college degree to dig a ditch. I went as far as I could in school. When I was growing up, boys had to tend the fields. Yall don't have to worry about that these days. Study hard now." We would laugh and make jokes behind his back. The truth is we were listening as most of us took his advice to heart.
I only remember moving five times in my childhood. Each time at least one nosey neighbor knew about everything. There is one person that comes to mind. She happens to be a distant relative.
We nicknamed Ms. Anna "Rose from 227" because she always looked out her window and talked to people. The lady didn't miss anything, and she would tell on us as well. On the rare occasions she comes outside, she would call the children over to talk to them. She spoke the exact words over and over again, "You need to be leaders, not followers. Don't be out here doing wrong, and keep up the neighborhood. Be proud of yo self. God loves you."
Our leaders are pastors, Alderman, teachers, and small business owners. We took these folks for granted. The pastors served the communities in ways other than preaching on Sunday mornings. One example is a pastor I knew would pick up young guys and pay them to work around the church. They were doing things like picking up trash, mowing the grass, and raking leaves. The pastor paying them to work kept these guys off the streets.
The other leaders were working to improve our schools. Different ones would speak to the children about how important reputation is in the world. Teachers loved the students and were not there just for a paycheck for the most part. They wanted to see students succeed in life.
"It takes a village to raise a child." is an old African proverb. I grew up in a small town in Mississippi. Everyone knew each other, both African Americans and Caucasians. When adults witness a young person behaving out of character, the adult discipline and inform the parent, their parent would thank the adult and discipline the young person again.
The parent, relative, or neighbor who disciplines a child is concerned for their future. Before some folks who dislike discipline become upset, let's define the word - - - -Discipline: NOUN the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience… Verb train(someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. It does not mean to beat a child to death. Accountability for disobeying is a must. It should start in childhood.
As one mature, concepts about discipline change. My mother was a strict disciplinarian. She did tolerate misbehaving, and it brought on swift consequences. I believed it was unfair at the time, but I know she was correct to hold up a standard for her children to follow.
I am thankful to God for the village I had. It included grandparents, aunts, uncles, Godmother, Church family, leaders, teachers, and family friends. A prudent parent will accept help from the village.
The village is to help bring out the good the young person has within. We must cultivate the gifts and talents of our young people. Volunteering time, donating money, listening, and encouraging are ways to support.
Where is the village for this generation of youth? They are crying out for help. It takes time, patience, and love to teach and discipline. We are stronger together. We are the village.
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." KJV
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I am a Christian, wife, mother of 3 sons, Electrical Manager, thinker, blogger, and lover of chocolate who loves to write about life, family, and current event.
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