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It takes a Village to raise a Child

By Jacob Devaney on Wednesday April 29th, 2015

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"How we treat the child, the child will grow up to treat the world"

– Pam Leo

No matter how old we are, we are children of ‘the village’, the community that raised us and supported us helped to shape the way we see the world. I had a very powerful weekend at Singing Alive, Kauai last weekend. For three days a village of people converged along a sacred river in the jungle to sing, workshop, and heal.

Singing Alive Kauai
Singing Alive Kauai

There were many highlights, but the biggest for me was a community ceremony where each individual walked through a line of hugs, love, and support. It reminded me of how fractured we have become in our individualistic society; how much we all need and deserve the love of a whole community. It is stressful to expect all your needs to come from one person in a traditional relationship, and it is even more stressful to expect the mother and father to be everything for their children at the same time. It really does take a village! The strength of the individual is multiplied a thousand times when supported by the larger community; this is even more true when it comes to the developing child.

There is much research that shows the damage violence and stress can have on a child, yet the solution to this can be found in community. I have written about the work of Robin Grille, author of Parenting for a Peaceful World and Heart to Heart Parenting in my article titled Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder, which I highly recommend reading. There is also a lot of contemporary research on emotional and brain development which is well worth exploring, yet the wisdom of being in community is something that lives in our DNA. All we need to do is wake it up, practice it and strengthen it for it to flourish once again.

I first read one of Robin’s books in 2008 and I was overwhelmed by the importance of the information between its covers. I was living in a small mountain community in Northern Arizona with a thriving community of friends. One afternoon my neighbors asked if I could pick up their ten year old daughter Aja from school, because they had an appointment. I agreed, thinking that it was a good excuse to get an ice-cream cone and spend some time with her.

While we sat on a park bench I asked her about life, school and the usual stuff adults ask kids. I was amazed at how passionate she was, and so opinionated about how things should be. This is where the idea for the video above was hatched. Sometimes community can be expressed locally and sometimes it can be a media-collaboration through the internet with a friend who lives across the ocean.

I wrote to Robin and asked him if he would write a distilled synopsis of the most vital and inviting portions of information from his book for a short web-video. I then asked Aja to read Robin’s words and record a voice-over, and told them I would collect images from the web and create a montage to help tell the story. They both agreed and were quite excited by the end result.

Parenting for a Peaceful World

The video still remains an introduction to this subject matter, but will change the way you see the world. Understanding the history of child-rearing, combined with cutting edge brain research, you will see how culture can be shaped in a positive way through conscious parenting. It has been said, and there is much clinical research to support the notion that we could change the whole world in one generation with a concerted effort to raise stable, emotionally healthy children.

Community Raises Children
Community Raises Children

Share this with the parents in your life. Consider ways to tell important stories with images, words and the endless potential of social media. When parents feel loved and supported by the community around them, they are in a better place to nurture their children. Together we can birth a future with less violence and create a more peaceful and loving world for coming generations. Together we can redefine community to incorporate all of our ancestral wisdom as well as all our modern technology.

Check out the Good-News Blog by Robin Grille for a very hopeful perspective on the world we live in. You can get involved by learning about The Children’s Well-Being Manifesto. Together we create community. We are all parents giving birth to a shared future, let’s strengthen our collective field of love!

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

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Jacob Devaney

Founder and director of Culture Collective, creative activist, musician, and producer.

 

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