Where’s the Village?

young-people_tcm15-12493We are living in the age of technology. Ten, twenty years ago, no one would have expected our world to be so inundated with so many electronic devices, too many to even begin to name. Everything moves and changes so fast and so do we. Before the latest device arrives home from the store and is installed and downloaded, it’s already obsolete. We are constantly on the move with very little time for anything including our own family, not to mention our neighbors. We are so preoccupied that there is little time to instill family values that, “back in the day” were the norm. Things like family dinners , visiting family and friends, cousins playing together and growing up to be best friends, picnics in the park and walks in the neighborhood , worshipping  together and  neighbors  sitting on the porch watching all the children play in the neighborhood, are all part of things in our distant memory.  These things used to be an important part of our lives and a part of our daily routine. It was common place for neighbors to be actively concerned and for children even to be subject to discipline by the lady next door. Because we all understood and agreed, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

 Now, we avoid contact with others for many reasons, some which are valid. Granted, it’s hard to trust anyone, right?  True, we have to be very careful about who we allow to be a part of our lives and especially the lives of our children.  The age of online dating and social networking has lifted the curtain that used to serve as a shield which protected us from questionable interactions and obscure relationships. Now we are exposed more than ever to child pornography, cyber bullying, internet fraud and online gambling, not to mention, domestic and family violence, increased gang activity, child sexual abuse and other “weapons” of mass destruction.  So, while we are forced to be subjected to what are now, societal norms, where is the village? Where are the families, friends, neighbors and other support systems we once depended on to help, raise, nurture, discipline and encourage our children? Do we no longer need the love, care,  cooperation and assistance to help our children and families, not only grow, but to  achieve excellence, develop and mature  emotionally, spiritually and mentally in our fast pace society? It appears in many ways we need the “village” more than ever.

How can we reconstruct what seems to be only a faint memory of the past “good old days”? Like anything worth having, construction must start with the resurgence of basic principles from the origin of family values that include compassion for others, ethical and Christian standards. Love your neighbor, treat others the way we would like to be treated, seek guidance and wisdom from parents and grandparents, as well as other friends and family, are principles that are far less prevalent these days. What happened to being a good example, reaching out to help those in need, taking time to smell the roses, savoring precious moments? In a recent conversation, a very familiar comment was made “seek and you shall find”. So, if we seek to find good, we will find greatness. If we seek to find happiness, we will find joy. If we seek to find contentment, we will find peace. If we seek to give, we will find blessings. If we seek to find the village, we will find ourselves giving, loving, sharing, caring and changing the world and the lives of others, young and old.

“Nothing changes, if nothing changes.” So how can we change to rebuild the village?  Reaching out to a single mom, volunteering to nurture grandchildren, mentoring a child or teenager, working with children and families at church or the neighborhood youth center, inviting a new family over for dinner and visiting an elderly neighbor, is a start. Each act of kindness from each one of us is a building block to a new and improved village that is located in our hearts. It’s imperative if we are concerned about where the village is, as my pastor said in one of his sermons, “let us all, be a light and let us all, light one candle.”

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  1. The village has become afraid of being the village that once loved, cared for, and looked out for everyone’s children. People’s attitudes and values have changed and many don’t want the “village” experience. So unfortunate!

  2. Great article. Some alternatives to the traditional “village” lead our young people to seek guidance, love, and acceptance from unsavory places. We can do better.

  3. Nice..seems in many cases though, that there is too much space between the village and those who are marginalized by society. While space seems to be getting wider and wider, many within the village allow the imperfections and lack of trust of the marginalized to keep them from daring to cultivate a meaningful and transformational relationship. I think that technology has helped the marginalized to develop their own village, however, whenever there is an absence of values and authentic leadership, these alternative communities will continue to develop, and many relationships will sprout lacking the very values and leadership that the village has to offer. Today we seem to be witnessing a “thin Jesus” in that the words sound great and the churches are all well and look nice, but until we began educating and applying a “thicker Jesus”, then no call or action will result in transformational witnessing or service.

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