I don’t have any idea who coined the phrase, “It Takes a Village” in the raising of children, but I agree we need our village. It’s the village that helps me keep my sanity. It’s the village that comforts me in my sorrows. It’s the village that celebrates my victories and cheers me on even when I’m losing. So, yes, “it takes a village” in all of our lives to help us thrive and become the entity of purpose that we are suppose to be.
In the village there are all types of people with all types of professions. There are the professed friends – the ones who profess their love and camaraderie. My oldest son calls these the “Ride or Die” friends. They will stick with you come what may. These are the types of friendship that develop over time and become more like family in the long run, or maybe better than family in some cases. (Don’t get me wrong some people have the greatest friendships within their family. I’m not discounting family relationships by any means). Then there’s the friend that profess to be friends. Although they talk a good game, in a pinch they leave you hanging. (Is that too many colloquialisms?) While their relationship may be a negative in one sense, they can also be a positive. Their inability to be loyal and steadfast teaches you to examine your relationships, as well as to be mindful of what you share and who you share it with.
In the village there are motivators and critics. The motivators may be parents, teachers, preachers, counselors, coaches, or bosses to name a few. These people see the potential in you; they push you to do your best, to take a chance. They encourage you to pursue your dreams, and to look forward to the outcome rather than focus on the struggle. Many of us owe our successes to these motivators, but we also owe them to our critics as well. Critics also motivate albeit in a negative way. Critics give you determination. They make you persevere if for no other reason than to prove them wrong. Critics help you decide the worth or value of a thing. They cause internal arguments; win or lose, you are motivated to act. I owe so much of my victories to critics who told me my dreams were impossible. In proving myself to them, I proved myself to myself also.
In the village there are heroes and heroines, as well as villains. (Can I pause here just long enough to say, the First Responders, nurses, doctors, and teachers have always been heroes even before the virus.) The heroes/heroines are the people who keep things going when everyone else gives up. They are dedicated to the better good of the village. They strive to leave no one behind. They find ways to overcome the odds, to jump hurdles, and to bring along the disenfranchised. Heroes/heroines give us principles to esteem and personal attributes to attain to. They are selfless in their time, talent, and treasures; while villains are selfish. Villains steal time. They see it as their job to destroy the treasures of others. They only value the things that benefit them. Villains never consider the outcome; they prefer instant gratification over well thought out plans. They see members of the village as obstacles in their way. Villains make us protective and appreciative of what we have and who we are.
I could probably go on with other analogies (after all I am a writer), but suffice it to say we all have a village and there are both good and bad in it. Yet, if we try, we can see the positive contribution in our lives. We can be thankful for our village. All we have to do is take the emphasis off of the word “the” and place it on the word “my.” My village – my husband, my mother, my children, my best friends, my pastor and church, my mentor, my writer’s group, my co-workers, my counselor, my instructors, my relatives, and my neighbors – all keep me moving forward even when I want to quit. My village holds me together and helps me achieve hope in the midst of precarious times because we really are “in this together” (unlike the media who coined that phrase).
Who is in your village? Perhaps its time to take notice and reassert your position and their’s. Perhaps its time to re-evaluate the importance of the people in your life and how they contribute to your well-being, your goals, your dreams, and your accomplishments as a generally good human being. It really does “Take a Village.”
Be well, stay safe, and do your part in the village.