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It takes a village to raise a child! Where’s yours?

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When someone praises my daughter, I beam with pride. I have raised my child well. I have taken good care of her. I have spent a good amount of time and effort after her. Isn’t it too much of “I” and “me”. Yes, I am her mother and so my daughter’s primary responsibility is mine. But what about the neighbours who look after her when I have important appointments to keep, the watchmen who stop her from running outside the building gates, the maid who feeds her when I am not around?

I am raising my daughter well, but not without their help. Hence, it will be wrong of me to greedily accept all the credit. It is said it takes a village to raise a child. And, it’s true! They are my village, and without them I would be lost.

Today, parents are being overprotective. And in their bid to be independent and mistrust of people, they are losing touch with their village.

Let me tell you about a small incident that happened a few years ago. As I was waiting at the gate to pick my daughter up at her kindergarten, a classmate of my daughter came out. She was holding her shoes in her hand, and then she put one dirty shoe in her mouth. Without giving it a moment’s thought, I tried to take her shoe away from her mouth. The 2-year girl started crying. Just then her mother came running from nowhere, and gave me a nasty look. May be she thought I was bullying her daughter or trying to kidnap her. I don’t know! She picked up her daughter, shoes and all, and left. No explanation was asked, and none given. The little girl’s reaction was expected, but her mother’s was not.

The incident upset me. I admit it. I realized people don’t always take you in the good spirit.

I started asking myself – Was I wrong in helping the child? Should I refrain myself from helping others in the future?

But then an inner voice told me – Will you ignore a child if you see her crying at a mall and all alone? You will not help her just because you burnt your fingers once and might be taken wrongly a second one? Or wouldn’t you raise your voice if you see a child bullying another one?

When I have a beautiful village of mine, shouldn’t I be a part of someone else’s, though they might not want or care for one?

I remember very well when we were young, it was OK to be corrected by parent’s friends, friends’ parents or neighbours. No one minded, and no one’s sentiments got hurt. And no, there were no nasty or suspicious looks. It was a given; you do wrong, you get scolded, even if not from a family member.

Parents can’t be everywhere at all times. But the village is. The village is the community where kids learn, grow and feel safe. It is there to keep a check on your kids, to correct them and protect them so they grow up into good global citizens. It is called community raising.

We talk about how single kids get the short end of the stick. Or how the kids of today suffer from psychological issues or existential crisis. One of the many reasons is because we are losing touch with our village. The kids don’t only have no siblings, but also a very small group of people they can call their own. No wonder they feel left out and feel they belong to nowhere.

Whether we accept or not or appreciate or not, everyone needs a village to raise a child. Thankfully, I have mine, where’s yours?

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  1. MRD

    I am actually writing with a question about one of your earlier posts that I can’t find. I am 6 weeks pregnant and yesterday after a Pooja at my friend’s parents house I ate a serving of tindora as part of a vegetarian lunch. Other pregnant women and my mother-in-law said any vegetable is ok to eat. I am really worried after seeing your post about avoiding tindora. I don’t want to do anything to hurt my baby or jeapordize the pregnancy. Do you know why you aren’t supposed to eat tindora as a cooked vegetable and what I should prepare myself for? Thank you.

    • Hello, Congratulations! This is the article, I think you were talking about – Tindora or Ivy Gourd is not recommended during pregnancy because its frequent consumption may lead to poor fetal brain development. However, there are no studies to prove that, but it’s safer to avoid than be sorry. Also, just relax, as a one time consumption of tindora will not harm you or your baby. To tell you the truth, my mom had told me when I was pregnant, that she used to eat all foods during her pregnancy (when she was carrying me) even papaya. But today’s doctors don’t recommend certain foods due to food contamination, etc. Please don’t worry; however avoid eating foods that cause indigestion and bloating like cauliflower, cabbage, radish, rajma, guar fali, chhola in the evening. Have plenty of fruits even mango soaked for 15-20 mins in water (I used to 3-4 mangoes a day when I was pregnant). Take care dear!

    • This is my first pregnancy, and I am already so stressed about “my village”. I have a hectic work schedule, and the same applies for my husband. I can’t leave my job because of financial constraints. None of our parents are ready to leave their place and come stay with us. I try to convince myself that there are so many women who manages work with baby, but I am feeling terrified of how will I manage it. Should I leave my job? Should I hire a nanny and trust her? It’s all so scary.

      • HI Nidhi, congratulations!! I can understand that you can’t have either your parents or your parents in law as your immediate support. But don’t lose heart. Expand your circle. Make friends and neighbors who can help you in time of need. I am in Mumbai with absolutely no support from parents as they all stay in another city. But I have a great set of friends and neighbors, and domestic help on who I can bank upon. Don’t leave your job if you can avoid it. Entrust your child to a good daycare, or if you are hiring a nanny, do install cameras in the house. Things have a tendency to fall in place, so don’t worry and be scared. Relax and enjoy your pregnancy! And then your little one. Hugs !! <3

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