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I feel the same way as the OP: mixed feelings about this concept. I'm so glad we don't have to justify our parenting decisions with extended family/friends because . . . well we are pretty isolated as far as family support.

As far as the village thing, times are different now. I wish I could let my dd go drop in on neighbor kids or the elderly couple down the street but I'm afraid she'll get snatched on the way there or she might get molested at someone's house whom she's visiting. Our neighbors (some of them) are racist and don't talk to us. The ones that do are so different from us as far as religion and politics and they are very vocal about their beliefs, and I want to raise my kids with our own beliefs, not theirs. The other family that's nice, the mom is a teacher and thinks I'm doing Abi a great disservice by allowing her to read before school-age. So if that's the village I have to work with I'd rather be an island.

Gone are the days when I was a child and could walk to the park and hang out alone, or drop in on the elderly couple next door for a slice of cake. Just doesn't happen much anymore.

I have a group of like minded mama friends but we have to drive to see each other. It's hard to have that village mentality when you have to drive across town to see the other members of your village, KWIM? And they are busy with kids of their own.

It's a lonely life but within our four walls we have each other: me and dh and our kids.
 

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I agree with you, Kavamama.
MDC is my village, too.


In 2005, that's just the best way for me to find like-minded mamas anytime of the day or night. I can wake up in the morning and stroll down TAO lane, have a virtual slice of pie and chat away with my friends.

At MDC the door is always open.
 

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"Not really a useful post here, but whenever several people (read: complete strangers) help me getting my children and stroller and backpack and chubby self on the bus, I always thank them profusely and then state my 'signature' line ... "It takes a village to get me on the bus." Always cracks them all up. Especially the folks sitting there, waiting for me and my anonymous stranger-assistants, scowling at me and my brood, wondering why anyone would have so many children (b'H four is so many? ) if they couldn't even get them all on to the bus by themselves ...

A good line, no?"

Amy, that is an awesome line. many times strangers help me with doors and things when i am out with the boys and i think it is wonderful.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by May May
I agree with you, Kavamama.
MDC is my village, too.


In 2005, that's just the best way for me to find like-minded mamas anytime of the day or night. I can wake up in the morning and stroll down TAO lane, have a virtual slice of pie and chat away with my friends.

At MDC the door is always open.
I totally agree with this statement for *me* because I get a lot of parenting guidance from all you wise mommies. However you can't become aunties to my kids. My kids need aunties and uncles and that's something I often mourn.
 

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So true, USAmma.

I was trying to think of the words to say that very thing.
It IS the one serious drawback and common denominator of the modern sense of community.

I don't at all like how isolated it feels. Like when I'm on MDC, I imagine and feel a big room, with all of us in it, yapping and chatting away while our dc play, too -- altogether. I imagine it as quite a loud but joyous commotion. But yet, when I get off MDC, I can only 'fantasize' about all of you, because you're not there, kwim? I have amazing irl friends, too, but there's just no way for irl to compete with the smorgasboard of choices in friends that you get with the virtual neighborhood, here.

My dh is an astrologer, and he said a few years ago that, in the age of Aquarius, we're just going to keep on getting more and more isolated with irl neighbors, less and less intimate with irl neighbors, BUT more and more united globally through technology (like the fact that we all 'feel' so close, yet we're all spread out, all over the world.
)

and yet ----

still lacking in intimacy in the tangible sense.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Stayseeliz
So the problem is not with the concept but with *my* village!?! :LOL
Heehee..I seriously would not have a problem with others having more of a hand in rasising my kids if they agreed with what we were trying to do with them...
Well, yes, that's the problem in a nutshell! Because we have a society in which it has stopped being normal for people to feel connected, some of us only get "help" from people who want to take over! It takes a village of people who want to support parents and children, not of people who want to comandeer children because they haven't worked out their issues yet!

I have been lucky because I have a great community of friends around me, all of whom I would like to influence my ds. It's not that it wouldn't be possible to raise a baby and little toddler in isolation. It's that it would mean many inelegant solutions, many pressured decisions.

People think that major cities aren't as good as rural places for raising children, but my experience is like Merpk's. I get help all the time and lots of social interaction. I find a lot of kindness in total strangers for my boy. I know before I had children I read a lot of stories and played a lot of games with kids, and now other people are having the same pleasure with my little guy, and it's great. I feel even more connected to the people around us than I did before.
 

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I could never, ever be a good parent without the help and support I get from others around me. Without the children's godparents who help in practical ways, like coming to babysit DS on no notice when we had to take DD to the emergency room, as well as providing some different perspectives and experiences for the kids, without my parents and even my ILs to help when I have to travel or DH is engrossed in work, without a good preschool and daycare provider, all of those people who make it possible for me to do what I do every day, then life would be miserable.

I think that exposing kids to different people, viewpoints and ideas is valuable, and worth not fussing when they do some things that I wouldn't do. Maybe being more flexible in my approach to parenting is helpful here -- I don't worry much about what the kids eat or what they watch occassionally. I know that I do enough on a regular basis that an occassional treat won't hurt anything.

Of course, this is So. CA, so getting to anyone in my village takes at least a 30 minute car ride. But that's life in the big city, I guess.
 

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i don't post much here, but this thread is VERY interesting to me for several reasons.

First I was raised in a crunchy family and am starting one on my own now. I am the oldest of seven children. My mother homebirthed, didn't vax, homeschooled, and did most of the other things you think of when thinking crunchy. My mom will be 50 in three years. So I'm the second generation of crunchiness. My mom you could say is the anti-thesis of Hilary Clinton and disagreed with her on, I think, everything, including the village mentality. My mother is totally and completely into the immediate family unit. She didn't like us playing with other kids because she was afraid of the influence they'd have on us. We didn't really have any community growing up outside our family because of this and the fact that my father was military and we moved a lot. My mom insisted and still does on doing just about everything on her own. This has brought her to the point of being almost clinically depressed at times and on the verge of a nervous breakdown if she hasn't actually had one. I've seen this happen to her because she refused to let anyone else have a say or influence in her family. I personally want a village.

Secondly, my dh and I are trully interested in intentional communal living. If we follow through with this we will have the help of our little village whether we may really want it or not. So for me its finding the village that I want to help me and that I want to help and making sure that the things I don't agree with aren't going to be monumental. Because no matter how much I try to protect my children, if I want to have the support of others, they are going to be exposed at some point to things I'd rather they not be exposed to. So I have to weigh the risks and decide. And for me I'd rather combat the occasional bite of hamburger or tv program they were allowed to watch than risk me having to depend on mental drugs and my kids seeing me in a mental meltdown.

So yes, I think villages, or communities, or a group of friends, or whatever you want to call it is very important in raising well balanced, healthy children and surviving the years of child rearing yourself.
 

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When I think of this village concept, it's not so much in terms of having others care for your kids without you around (except, perhaps, in an emergency), which could be problematic if others don't share your philosophy or try to do things that are downright dangerous. I grew up in a small town (two traffic signals), and I feel like I was raised by the village in some sense because no matter what I always felt like I could get help from almost anyone. Of course there were a few weirdos in town! But I grew up feeling like there were lots more adults than my parents looking out for my well-being.

But here are a couple of examples from my own childhood. This one doesn't apply so much anymore with cell phones and all, but when I was out on my bike as a kid and needed to call home, I would just stop and ring someone's doorbell. They would let me in (often they knew me) and allow me to use the phone. Sometimes I would get a drink of water or snack too. It was a small enough town that I knew vaguely who lived at every house along my customary play routes, so I could have confidence that they were safe.

Second, I grew up in a very snowy part of the country. It was not unusual to have one's car go off the road as a result of black ice or just general bad luck when there was a lot of snow on the ground. Inevitably, when that happened, passers-by would stop and help you push your car out. I was the beneficiary of this on several occasions, and also stopped to help out myself a few times.

Also, I think that having lots of adults out and about who knew me made it less likely that I would misbehave. Adults thought nothing of approaching teenagers who were not their own kids and telling them they needed to stop [insert antisocial activity]. Of course, this could translate into adults telling kids to stop doing stuff we would think is harmless fun. That's the negative part of the village.

Beth
DS (5), DD (2)
 

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My one big negative experience of the village going wrong was the year I took my GCSEs- the gossip network told my family about my results before I'd even had a chance to get home. (living rurally, I came down to school on my motorbike to pick them up. 10 miles each way.) To be precise, my parents got an earful of abuse from my grandmother because she had to find out from the chapel ladies...
I miss it. I really miss it. I don't think the small communities are the same as they were, with people moving away, and it makes me sad that I'm not going to be able to share that with my kids.
 

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USAmma said:
I have a group of like minded mama friends but we have to drive to see each other. It's hard to have that village mentality when you have to drive across town to see the other members of your village, KWIM? And they are busy with kids of their own.
QUOTE]



I know exactly what you mean. That is the problem we have too.

I just started reading Our Babies, Ourselves. There are some very interesting examples in there of the village concept.
 

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MIL is always saying about how DS will have no friends because he's not in daycare and we plan on homeschooling. She says he needs other people teaching him and he needs to be with other kids..
Well, I can attest to the fact that non-daycare using, homeschooling kids do have other people teach them and they are around other kids. Just not in a daycare or school building.

This morning we went to the summer reading program kickoff at the library. Ds and dd listened to the librarian reading and participated in the program. There were a ton of other kids there, some of whom we know. Tomorrow, I'm going to be babysitting for a family with five kids while their mom gets some construction work done on her house. Ds and dd are going with me. There's some more being around other kids right there.
 

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I think the village is to some degree always raising the child. The average teenager these days sees about 3000 commercial images per day and most 2 year olds can recognize 30 or something brand names. Besides the influence of corporations the other 250 million Americans around us affect our children and ourselves in more ways than we can know.
In our larger village, The Business of America is Business." The village might, however, with our effort, change from its focus on profit to a love for children. Also, the village need not tell you how to raise your children but nevertheless its focus would be children. GNP becomes "Great National Parent." Schools now look like factories and are built outside of town. Schools could be the most beautiful building in the center of town because the village likes children.
 

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I'm living in a society that emphasises the importance of the social responsibility of "the village".

We pay high taxes, but we also have good public schools, good public kindergardens, good public playgrounds, good public hospitals, and good public services for the old.
So the village plays a part in our private lives and in the raising of my children.

I depend on the village in a more informal way too, on my parents and my friends, my neighbours, and the parents of my children's friends. We help each other and support each other. Of course they are not all perfect, neither am I. But we all share a love and concern for our children and their welfare.

I think this makes me a stronger and better parent, not a worse or less attached parent!
 

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Somewhere I heard the saying" it takes a village to raise an orphan,but it takes a mother to raise a child.I think it was regarding Hillary Clintons emphasis on Gov't involvement in raising kids,mandatory vaxes etc.
I do agree with it though.Sometimes I really resent the mainstream thinking thats out there.Medicated childbirth,daycare,13 yrs of institutionalized education.In a true village( like the ones Margret Mead studied) motherwork was an honored esteemed job,the aunties or extended family really were a positive support system.What I see in current society is not positive or nuturing.Quite frankly its scary
 

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Yes, BUT...
Hilary Clinton is one person, who happened to create a snappy soundbite to promote her own political agenda, piggybacking on nice, wholesome (relatively AP ideas- to me the term reminds me of the wholesomeness of the Continuum Concept, or other indigenous peoples). The idea that it takes a village to raise a child precedes her by some centuries...and will probably succeed her by some centuries. It seems to me that there's three questions here:
1) It takes a village to raise a child. Discuss.
2) What is a village? Is village life even possible in 2005? Discuss.
3) Hilary Clinton. If desired, discuss.
And lastly, of course, there is the fact that our geographical villages are full of chavs. I'm not sure that discussing this would achieve anything, but a good vent would probably make everyone feel better. Certainly me
 

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I do believe in the village concept - that's the way I was raised. We lived in a rural area, where visiting friends required a good bicycle, but I still had plenty of friends, and we were always in and out of each other's houses. Every family had different rules, but we all adapted to them easily. There were also family, and my parents' friends who we visited a lot. My mom worked, and for much of my childhood I had a sort of extra grandma caring for me during the day.

I live far away from my realtives, but my friends and I have formed our own sort of village. We all help each other out, and no one worries over the differences in parenting too much. We all trust each other enough to know no physical harm will come to the kids, and a little TV or soda or whatever isn't a big deal. It is a little different with my 7-mo DD, I'm more strict about having things done my way, but I do trust that everyone will respect that. And they do. I know some people don't believe in babysitters for young kids, but my DH and I think it's a great blessing to be able to go out on a date once in a while.

Despite being far away, my family is still very involved with my kids. My older DDS (6 and 10) are right now in a car with my mom, on their way to her house for the next month. We've done this for a few years now, and it's wonderful for everyone.
 

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I truly believe the "... it takes a village..." idea. I was raised in a very dysfunctional family (my father was an alcoholic and my mother is insane...still). If we had not had the love and support and guidance of my extended family and friends network I'm sure I would not be alive today. Suicide wold have certainly taken my sister and I. It TOOK a village. And I think that mindset can benefit even a healthy family. I was pregnant and had my son ALONE w/ just my dh. It was ROUGH. Although I don't share ANY of the same parenting/pregnancy beliefs of my family I would have LOVED to have someone around to see me growing. To see my joy reflected in my grandmothers' face. Stuff like that. It DOES take a village.
 
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