“For the family that raised me,
The family I joined,
And the family we made”.
These words are on the dedication page of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 1995 book, It Takes A Village.
By now, we have all heard the phrase, “It takes a village”, a portion of the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”.
Right now, as we are all living into the reality of the Coronavirus pandemic, I imagine it would be easy for parents and grandparents who are raising children to feel horribly isolated and overwhelmed. The concept of a whole village surrounding you with love and support is reassuring even on your best days as parents. The idea that the village is now quarantined to separate homes must be terrifying.
Which is why I wanted to write this quickly, while it’s on my mind, so it will be something you can refer to when you are locked in the bathroom, muffling your crying with a towel and the fan: it DOES take a village and YOUR VILLAGE is still here. Right here.
We are figuring out new ways to support you. We are praying for you and your children and ourselves, crying out to God to kindle the flames of creativity and resourcefulness that we will be able to walk more closely to you and your beloved children.
We are reaching out to you, one at a time, as we ourselves take in the enormity of this moment in time. We will continue to do so.
Someone will have an idea that grows and spreads and your days will take on a new rhythm as we reconnect to you and your children using what we have, where we are, for as long as it takes.
I am a writer in part, because when my mother worked nights and slept during the day, and we went for days without seeing one another, she left letters on my bed, and I replied with letters on hers.
My youngest son is a teacher, in part, because when his own parents were falling apart, a teacher led him through the storm and opened his eyes to the security he could find in a village filled with literature to be not just read, but analyzed and eventually, added to.
In a recent sympathy card, someone wrote to me: we have you surrounded with love and support. We have you surrounded.
I offer you these same words. Hold them close to your heart right now. Reach towards those in your village when you feel like you are falling apart. I guarantee a teacher, a pastor, a friend, a colleague, another parent, will stand in the gap until you are able to re-enter the ongoing work of raising a child.
My prayer for you today is that you will remember: you are not raising them alone. There is a village surrounding you with love and support. That love and support is being transformed so that it looks different. But all the Zooming and Face-timing and Slacking springs from the same foundation of love. We haven’t gone anywhere. We too are in school so that we can love and teach and hold your children in new ways, until the storm passes over.