Does it Take a Village (To Raise a Child)?
- Friday, July 26, 2013
Some parents are afraid to let their children participate in larger community activities, fearing that the influences of the other children will do them irreparable harm. I hope you don’t follow that line of thinking. However, as you open up your children’s world to the larger community, I think there are several things you have to keep in mind, to make sure everything stays balanced.
First, you have to consider your own level of participation. You don’t want to smother the kids by constantly trying to protect them, but you also have to be out there and available in order to monitor those influences—and be ready to pull the plug if necessary. You also have to consider the age and maturity level of the children in question. Are they ready to be exposed to other ideas and points of view, or are they too likely to be swayed by ideas that might prove injurious to your family life?
The quality of the programs and adults and children involved is also critical to consider. Most of the community activities we chose were staffed by people with excellent moral values. The occasional coach could get too ornery at times, and we pointedly stayed away from one particular league where everyone was known for caring about winning at all costs. However, we found many caring adults who served as mentors and became lifelong friends. I personally found it very enriching to make friends with some of the public school parents in the area and believe it helped me avoid becoming narrow-minded.
Now that my kids are all grown and scattered from Oregon to England and beyond, I can’t say that I really miss the double headers on 90-degree days or the nights spent shivering under a blanket in the stands watching practices in February, but I do miss the camaraderie of the other parents, the fun and excitement of the competition, and the glitter of opening nights in the theatre. Obviously, what I really miss most is the opportunity to spend more time with my kids!
What wonderful memories I have of the experiences we had out in the larger community! No, it didn’t take a village to raise a child...but the village sure added to the experience in ways I could never have predicted when we first began.
Mary Hood, Ph.D., and her husband, Roy, homeschooled their five children since the early 1980s. All have successfully made the transition to adulthood. Mary has a Ph.D. in education and is the director of ARCHERS for the Lord, Inc. (The Association of Relaxed Christian Home Educators). She is the author of The Relaxed Home School, The Joyful Home Schooler, and other books, and is available for speaking engagements. Contact her via her website, www.archersforthelord.org.
Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.
Publication date: July 26, 2013
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