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What Village Can Raise My Child?
By Barrington H. Brennen, October 2, 2003, 2020


Writer's Note: This article was first written in 2003 on the backdrop of the discussion of child abuse and the neglect of many parents.  It is not intended to diminish the positive value of the community but to reinforce the primary function of parents.  The purpose of this article is to stimulate parents to think carefully about their responsibilities.

Not one village can raise my child. There is no village thatís as wise as I am and that has the responsibility as I do to raise my child. It does not matter if the village has the latest technology, educational systems and techniques, the most trained teachers and administrators, spirit-filled pastors, or the latest skills in behavioral modification.   Before you fall off your chair, read further.

Itís not the villageís responsibility. Itís mine. The truth is that it is a myth that "it takes a village to raise a child." Before you get turned off, just read further to grasp the points being raised. Parents have the responsibility of raising their children. The village will destroy the child if parents are not responsible.  That is if the wrong "village" is chosen.  (Note that this is a general statement and not to be interpreted to be the impact on every single child.)
Responsible parents choose "villages" (relationships, schools, churches, events) that will support and re-enforce their belief system, thus making their parenting easier. Without this kind of parental guidance the village will destroy and not effectively raise the child. Here is a poem written by Glenn Conjurske that will illustrate my point. It is entitled "It takes A Village"

It Takes A Village

"It takes a village (so we're told), to raise a child today.
It takes a village (we reply), to steal his heart away.
To purge old-fashioned do's and don'ts from his enlightened mind
To leave old fashioned Ma and Pa, a hundred years behind.

It takes a village, verily, to teach some mother's son
To steal and gamble, smoke and swear, and vandalize for fun.
His mother didn't teach him that! His father? No, not he!
It takes a village to corrupt, a village verily.

It takes a village, this we know, to teach the maidens sweet,
To dress and act, to look and talk, like women of the street.
It takes a village, not a doubt, to teach a maiden mild,
To save the monkey's, owls, and whales, yet kill her unborn child.

It takes a village public school, some subtle class room chats,
To teach the little boys and girls to act like alley cats.
To teach them of the birds and bees, without morality,
To teach them what to do and how, and tell them they are free.

It takes a village, yes indeed, to brainwash all our youth,
With notions and with fallacies, in place of sense and truth.
Abortion rights! The right to die! The rights of animals!
Creative spelling! Unisex! the rights of criminals!

It takes a village, well we know, to turn their minds awry.
To stand for fancied "Children's rights," and parent's rights deny.
To honor human nature less, and trees and rivers more.
To sacrifice to Mother Earth, and Father God ignore.
"It takes a village," so they say, but something more they mean.
United Nations, Washington, The Liberal machine.
Society, the "Brave New World," the socialist scheme.
The global ideology; It's here.....The New World Order Dream!"

A fundamental problem in our society is that far too many parents, knowingly or unknowingly, depend on others to raise their children. Here are some of the ways parents absolve themselves of their God-given responsibilities:
  1. They quickly rush their infant children off to daycare centers before they can even walk and talk because they want more time for themselves. They place more value on the unfamiliar nursery care-giver than on themselves.

  2. Some would send their children to their grandmothers living on the family islands because they are too busy to take care of them. Then they wonder why their own children are more attached to grammy.

  3. They expect the school teachers to teach their children about the fundamental principles of reading and writing. These parents do not take the time to read to their children. They forget that parents are really the primary educators of their children.

  4. They allow the television to be the babysitter in the home, feeding their children with endless hours of violence, sex, and foul language. Then they punish their children for acting rudely.

  5. They leave their children alone in the house or with neighbors while they go out at nights to have fun, then they are surprised with their own children sneak out of the house to have sex with a friend.

  6. At a very early age they send their children on very long summer vacations with other family members or friends. Many parents are not aware that it is during these times that their children pick up bad habits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

  7. They neglect to punish they children for poor behavior and get terribly angry when the school principal decides that enough is enough.

These are only a few of the ways parents neglect their responsibilities. The village can only help raise the child by supporting the principles and lifestyle of the parents through encouragement and setting a good example of disciplined living.

Many parents who neglected their responsibilities during their childrenís early years end up crying when their disobedient sons and daughters (whom they refuse to admit were disobedient) are thrown in jail. They are not crying because they realize they have made mistakes as parents. They are crying because the cannot see how their "nice" children became criminals. Parents, it is time to stop crying and get into action. Crying wonít help now. It is now the time to take on your responsibility and help change our nation. Itís all in your hands, not the villageís hand. 
Yes, it is the parents responsibility.  The village can provide support and even direction, especially when a child is coming from a dysfunctional family or was abandon.  However, primarily it is the parent's duty to raise a child.  The challenge we have is when the "village" provides greater influence than the parents on the forming of values in the child, especially when those values are counter productive.  Perhaps parents should select what "village" they want their children to be influenced by.    This is important to prevent childhood cognitive dissonance, emotional conundrum, and psychological dysfunction.  Parents, make sure you are truly the first "village" your child will live in.  For whatever reason, if there are no biological parents to raise the children, then a good village can be impactful.   Also, when a good village and good parents join forces, usually the influence is productive.


Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist.  Send questions or comments to question@soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980 for professional help.  Or WhatsApp 242-477-4002


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