It Takes a Village

27 Apr

We’ve all heard this phrase. But what do they really mean? Village implies a small, close knit community that looks out for each other and supports each other. The reality of it all is that when politicians say village, they really mean government and all of its many programs.

Here is a recital of a true story as an example of what I mean.

My daughter was enrolled in the public school districts pre-K program. She was ineligible to attend in our home town because they decided she didn’t really need the services and our home town has a considerably higher number of at risk families that would have precedence over ours. But I was able to take her to another school in the same district (in a much larger town) and maybe if an opening came up she could transfer to our home town school.

The school policy is that you must escort the student into the classroom, sign him/her in, and then get them settled into the opening activity. Then at pick up you had to come in and sign the child out and escort them to your vehicle. This is a fine plan and I am sure helps keep the kids safe from wandering around the school grounds and possibly getting lost or abducted. That is to say it is a fine plan if you only have one or two children. I have four. Granted one is older and already attending school. But that leaves me with three children, two of which still needed to be carried (one was learning to walk) at the time and the third liked to run away. So I was left with a predicament. Now, starting class wasn’t as big of a delima because the student wanted to go to school and often ran straight into the classroom. But what to do when I was trying to get all three kids into the car? Do I try to herd all three kids back and forth from car to classroom and back and risk having one or two kids running away while I buckled one up in the car? Or do I leave the two youngest in the locked car race in as fast as possible and grab the third and go? I opted for the second choice, but only during bad weather when it was a struggle to take the babies out in the cold. I always locked the doors, and I always told the teachers that I had kids waiting in the car, they never said anything about this or offered any permanent solution. The assistant did bring out my daughter whenever it was raining, but that was it. This was not an every day occurance and I hated doing it. But I didn’t have many options. I had evaluated all risks for various situations and decided that this solution was the least risky.

Things came to a nasty turn one day though. I pulled into the parking lot and noticed that there was a police car parked in the street. I thought it kind of odd, but didn’t go beyond that. Not until I came out of the classroom and saw the very same police car parked behind my parking spot with the police woman standing at attention by the driver side door. Another mother had reported me to the police. I was given a warning for abandoning my children. I was furious. Not a one of those parents had ever offered to help. In fact, most of them were in too much of a hurry to push their way into the classroom first. I raised a storm. All administrators admitted that the policy was unfair to parents of multiple kids, but at the same time stated that they did not have the means to offer any solution. My daughter was finally transferred to our home town school.

It is the same school district and the same policies are in place. However I had learned my lesson and was afraid of losing my children. I struggled to herd everyone in and out of the classroom. Only this time, one of the parents saw me struggling and helped me carry one of the kids back to the car.

That is the true spirit of communityhelping your neighbor when they need help, not turning your neighbor into the authorities because you are a self-righteous snob and think you know better than your neighbor.

We do not need authorities to help us and take care of us. We need the ability and the freedom to take care of ourselves and the compassion to help out our neighbors in their need. We need a small enough community to be able to know who are neighbors are so that we can learn to trust and help each other.


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