According to an old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I never grasped the depth of this phrase until I had my own children. Before becoming a mom, I thought I could do it all on my own, especially with my husband and mom nearby, just in case I needed anything. As time went on, however, I quickly realized that not only did I need help in the everyday operations of motherhood, but also that I would not be the only person influencing my children’s character and personality development.
My husband has a big family, and they all live near one another in Albemarle, NC. If you have never been, this town boasts some of the most beautiful farm country in all the land. The fields are speckled with white cotton, tall corn, and sprouting soybeans. Old farmhouses, wheat silos, and crimson barns stand strong on the rolling hill, and remnants of textile mills remind passersby of the industry that sustained the once-bustling town. Albemarle is truly a piece of North Carolina’s history.
Though I’m terrible with recalling directions, I have a knack for remembering names (most of the time), so I wasn’t too overwhelmed when I met my husband’s family for the first time, but when we had our oldest son, I wondered how long it would take him to remember the faces and names of his family “down East”. We hung all of their pictures on a cork board in his room, and we would point to each family member and say their names so that each time we visited, he would know them.
Our boy did a pretty good job remembering their names, but before he even turned 3, he coined his own term for this side of our family. One day, out of the blue, he said, “When are we going to see the Albemarle people?” I chuckled a little to myself at his phrase, “the Albemarle people”, but somehow it stuck, and he still uses it to this day. Frankly, it is easier than rattling off ten or more names.
This past week, we went to the beach with the Albemarle people, and both of my boys had an absolute ball. I didn’t even really see our five-year old the entire week because he would rather hang our with our super cute nieces and nephew and their boyfriends/girlfriend. If he wasn’t with one of them, he was in MeMe’s lap or playing corn hole with Uncle Dean or otherwise playing with someone. Our two-year old is still a little attached to Mommy and Daddy, but it was clear he enjoyed his time because he would say things like, “Where is everybody?” or “I don’t want my nap-nap. I want to swim with everybody.”
As I watched both boys play and have fun all week, the African proverb kept running through my mind. It truly does take a village to develop a solid, well-rounded, grounded person. Though we Americans don’t technically live in villages any longer, the concept still remains. Not only will the Albemarle people influence my children, but so will my family, our friends, teachers, coaches, and church members. It feels good knowing that our boys have so many individuals surrounding them with love and that if they ever need anything, they will have no shortage of people to whom they can turn. As a mom, that makes me very, very happy.
Who’s in your child’s village?
The Albemarle People