My life began with one mother, but apparently one wasn’t enough.
I love the phrase “It takes a Village.” I believe that is the name of a book written by Hillary Clinton. However, I also love the phrase – “I’ve seen the village, and I don’t want it raising my children.”
So I guess the bottom line is it all depends on the village.
Here is the story of my village…
The Village Grows by One
Quickly, I learned I had a grandmother who was also happy to help keep me in line. She didn’t make it into the village by having children of her own. She joined because she embraced our family as her own, even though she had never given birth to any children. I have to admit I have truly enjoyed going through life watching people’s faces when I would say “My grandparents didn’t have any children.” Either it goes over their head, or they look at me like I’m crazy. I love Mrs. Alice and miss her greatly. I don’t think she ever tried to revoke her membership in the village, so I guess we did ok.
When it Rains, it Pours
Growing up in Metairie, LA (borders New Orleans), floods were a part of life. The canal water would rise until it came up close to the house. I don’t remember it ever coming into the house, but my brother took it upon himself to flood the house once – so the indoor flooding was covered anyway. Several times in my childhood, flooding would strike at a moment’s notice. This meant we were spread out at different houses and other locations around the area. But we had a village, so that was ok. I remember feeling safe and learning about God and feeling loved by so many people. Being little though, my mom was still IT for me. I loved all these moms, but my mom was where I wanted to be and who I wanted to be with.
A New Village
We relocated to Beaumont, TX when I was 7ish. My mom made many new friends there, and a few of them became part of our village. When our house caught on fire, the village was there to take in all three of us kids for several weeks. Two of my favorite homes to visit were the Hargraves and Scoggins – two families I treasure and trust to this day! Several others joined our village, but not exactly in Beaumont. It was quite interesting…
Just Take Your Village With You
Somehow, over a period of I don’t know how many years, several of our Beaumont friends relocated up to the DFW area after we did. And this is where the village became THE VILLAGE. As a teenager, it took on a new meaning. Having a village of moms that preached and lived the same message my mom preached made such a difference in my life. That unison chorus I would hear throughout the week allowed me to trust, value, and heed the message I was hearing. The greatest message I would hear from our village was that God wanted me to live for Him, and He cared about every part of my life (yes – even what came out of my mouth – which I remember from the object lesson of a cow tongue thanks to Mrs. Lakey). My life was not an aimless wandering on this crazy planet. The village reminded me to “lock my doors and roll up my windows” for safety. The village reminded me of the value of modesty. They let me have birthday parties at their houses – Tammy Pearson. They taught my Sunday School classes. They came to my birthday parties and graduations. And they (Amanda Lucas) even let me live with them when my most treasured member of the village had to move away without me.
When the Village is All You Have
My life is a testament to the village of my childhood – which is still part of my village as an adult. As a senior in high school, my dad moved away for his job after Christmas. And the village stepped up to help take care of us. I’ll never forget being called to the school office and told not to go home for lunch. My sister had received an extremely threatening phone call, and we couldn’t go home until my dad could get back in town to add more locks to the house. The village took us in – literally giving us shelter – helping us feel safe and secure during an already unsure time in my life. My mom followed my dad after I graduated high school, and again – the village took me in, giving me a home on weekends and summers away from college, feeding me and loving me in some of my darkest days up to that point in my life. They gave me space, but they never let me stray far. When a seventeen year-old momma’s girl watches her mom move across the country, the world around her crumbles – at least for a time. But my village shored me up and loved me. They knew they couldn’t replace my mom, but they were the moms I needed when she couldn’t be there. They kept my eyes pointed upward to the Lord at a time in my life when it was critical that I didn’t lose sight of His plan.
A favorite village memory I have is of my eighteenth birthday party. I left for college at seventeen, and turned eighteen that November. Coming back from Connecticut for Thanksgiving, my parents had planned a visit to my grandparents’ home in southeast Texas. As I drove home, my car died about an hour and a half away. My dad came with a tow truck to get me after being stranded at a gas station in Marrietta, Oklahoma. Upon arriving home, I discovered an almost completely eaten birthday cake. I’d missed my surprise eighteenth birthday. But guess who was still there? My village. Maybe it was because the party was at their house, but I’ll always remember walking into about 5 or 6 Happy Birthdays! What a memory!
When my parents moved away, God left me entrenched in a village of people who cared for me deeply and loved me as their own. And they still do to this day.
A Village of My Own
As a working mom, I didn’t have time for a village of my own. But these last few years, the Lord has been generous in providing deep friendships within my homeschooling community, and my very own village is growing before my eyes. With little kids, the village is for the moms. We need the friends. As our children grow older though, the village becomes a place of refuge for them – a place where examples that aren’t mom or dad are watched closely and where advice is given from someone other than immediate family. It’s important that all of this matches up with God’s word and with what our family believes.
NOTE: Men are in the village (such as my brother). However, the focus here is on my mom village (moms and women who invest in nurturing children that aren’t their own).
My village is still growing. While it still includes the many moms of my childhood and now friend-moms that are in the throws of parenting and/or home-educating, it has also grown to include even more empty nester moms who have been where I am now. And with a teenager of my own, I value my village (ALL OF MY VILLAGE) more deeply than I ever have before.
I love my village. I hope you have a village too.
- 10000In the homeschool world, as in any world, you can live isolated, but I have found that community is vital to successfully educating my children. We've all heard the phrase "It takes a village." Well, it's true. What they fail to mention is the critical part of selecting the right village and…