(I think this is a heavy post so please read it slowly with contemplation)
Over and over again I hear, it takes a village to raise children. My question is, “Do we as parents accept the villagers?"
Seems like an unfair question doesn’t it?
Well no one ever said
It takes a village to raise a child and the village is perfect without flaws and the parents absolutely adored everyone in the village.
I am pretty sure the villagers held each other accountable and had a code of conduct and worked on the basis of Taqwa.
We are a billion plus Muslims in the world .. and good population among us is misplaced refugees with their children. But a bigger population is safe, healthy, living in their means or trying to create a humble family culture.
Why and when did we loose the hope and interest in becoming a village to support our children? We probably didn’t , we were cajoled to think this what we don't want it for us and our children anymore.
I see a lot of us parents scrambling for good company for our children, we are fretting over the secret friends our children have, the influence and peer pressures they deal with and almost 90% anywhere in the world say .. well there are no mentors or good coaches or good friends fo you children. And I have yet to come across a mother who says ( leave out the narcissist) that I am perfectly the best fit for my children.
You will easily hear, "Alhamdulilallah my children love me" and that’s a good thing Alhamdulilallah.
Ok maybe they do have friends, and cousins and young uncle and aunts and that’s a blessing to have around .. How many have a positive effect in each others life? We win some we loose some! I suppose.
I believe we are in a village crises.
For the majority of us ( immigrants and first generation children) living in the West or anywhere in the world as expects, our village is outside of our homes, our masjid family friends, our same ethnicity friends. Some of us are fortunate to have extended family living by too. But that is a rare exception.
Others are second or third generation Muslims and their mannerisms and ideology about religion and its role in life varies.
But for the ones who has extended family living with them, you will find conflict, heart ache and a lot of opinions being thrown around.
I did raise this questions among my peers and sisters in Deen:
How come we don't have an account of women of different eras and their burn outs?
Their complicated pregnancy and mortality rate was way higher than today.
The men used to spend days sometimes months or years away form home. They were raising 10 sometimes 12 children .. with their village.
Where are their stories?
Different times yes, but did they process emotions differently too?
To an extent yes. They did. And I say this because
there is a research that supports that the humans living in today's era are the most safely settled race.
We have vaccines and less wars but more death.
Abundance of food but hunger prevails due to unfair and unjust hoarding.
Medicines and schools but with disparity. The rich live and the poor suffer to live though life.
Technology and ease in every day life,
and yet when it comes to depression and mental disorders we exceed in numbers then any other generation.
I think we do have our village, but its premises has changed.
We carry this village in our hands, in our AirPods, on our podcasts, in social media likes and subscriptions.
The strangers of cyber world are our go to mentors.
The people with similar interests are our favorite to gossip and share stories with.
Facebook pools people in bubbles based on interests.
Two people living next door with difference in interests might never come across each other their entire online life but someone sitting in a remote village based on what they choose as their search interest might be able to connect and chat with us.
The village elders were seen with respect and given honor and gratitude for their time, energy, sincerity, love and wisdom.
The village elders in our online world is anyone who our appeases to our eyes and ears.
Age and experience is just a number.
We take advice from totally random people who we will probably never ever meet in life but we believe they are the experts in the subject matter because that’s how hey represent themselves. ( I work hard to represent myself as a parent coach, so respect for all the online genuine people running their businesses with strong ethical standards. )
There was a time when I thought this was wrong. This kind of a village should no exist. And maybe the time then would have allowed the luxury of carrying this bias.
and then Covid hit.
Everything went online. Learning, earning, on ground meetings, classes , personal human connection moments, celebrations, weddings, funerals, everything.
I think there have been a million articles about screen time and the crises of being online all the time . whether its work or leisure …...
Has the village changed?
Absolutely, yes it has.
So what's the best way to go about it?
Learn the new ways.. form your own definitions
Set your own family values for the online village
There is no escaping it …
but we have the right to set boundaries, define terms, lay out our village connections.
No one online is going to raise my children. I have to do that .. but I have the help to do it with someone who has been in my shoes before, I cannot see their sincerity but can definitely read them, hear them and connect with their words.
You, the one reading is my village and I hope I am yours.
We might never meet, we might not attend Eid dinners and our children’ weddings but I know I will upload my share of occasions and you will do the same.
Then we will like the posts,comment and exchange duas….
I am saying that family is the center unit and should and will always remain. We all have to work towards helping the family thrive, and this new sense of village might not be a bad option.
Of course we have to learn to be careful, more learned about how we want to form this new village. How to avoid the pitfalls. Whom to trust and let in our homes.
That’s like.. in any new land people would test the drinking water, the soil to farm. What kind of crops to farm …
And then slowly and gradually adjust to that landscape.
I could have talked about the importance of grandparents and the importance of passing on the language and culture…. but that again is not the reality of our world wide village.
Those human connections and passing of traditions and stories will still be , In Shaa Allah and Alhamdulilallah. We will cherish whatever remains… and accept what has already begun. …
It takes a village to raise a child,
Only in this village it's total strangers vested in my family’s interest because I trust them and welcome them in our lives.
The village remains, the percepton and acceptance of it has changed.