It Takes a Village . . . Maybe
A few years ago, Washington reminded us of an African proverb about rearing children. Evidently, it was part of the Igbo culture in Nigeria from centuries ago. You may recall the emphasis that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” There is some obvious truth in this concept, but there may be some inherent dangers. Let’s think about it together.
There is no doubt that the community in which children are reared plays a powerful role in the spiritual development of every child. The fact that some fail to understand this is seen by the opening words of Paul in 1 Cor. 15:33. “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.” The fact that Paul begins with this warning about being deceived shows that this truth can be hidden from us.
The world that existed when many of our older members were young no longer exists. The culture of those days is not the culture of our day. So, what might have been a truth years ago is not necessarily a truth today. What if parents fail to realize this today? They can unconsciously give their children to the “village” where the school system is forbidden to teach morals and tie them to Jesus. The majority of the hours each day is spent in that “village.”
Then, there is the “after school village.” With both parents working, or even where there is a single parent situation, making a living means children have to spend time somewhere. I do not have a perfect solution, but wise parents should think about the impact those hours have on their own children. Sports have their place, but do we not realize the impact that the language and attitudes shown by coaches and players has on our children? To do nothing to counter this influence is to let this “village” rear our children.
Be aware of the “village” of media. Do we really want the lifestyle of actors, actresses, singers and filthy comedians to mold our children? Are we content to have our children, who know of the immoral lives of leaders in media, make those individuals their heroes and idols? The same could be said of the influence of smartphones and the internet.
There is another side to the words of Paul about the impact of ungodly friends, and that is the impact of the influence of godly friends. It is so easy to get so busy that we fail to get our children to spend as much time as possible with other children who have real values.
There are two God-given “villages” we have to help us. One of the blessings of the church is its influence as a “village” today. The other is our homes. Not just houses where the family finally gets together to sleep in the same house—but a real home—God’s “village” where He is present!