In the past few weeks I have had reason to think back to our history and to reflect on the children who experience our world every day. Journalists and reporters continue to inform us that all children are not safe in the worlds they are part of.
In 2007, The Doorway (the back door) created and published a series of magazines we named ‘Village Spectrum’…
Participants, as young people outside of traditional supports, wrote the content with the hope that community could learn from their own words about how they experience our society. Our vision was driven by belief in our shared learning.
The editor wrote the following:
“Young people mirror the society into which they are born.
It is the birthright* of every child to be nurtured in a safe environment, supported in growth and development with guidance from their ‘elders’, in their transition toward the freedom of full participation as adults in our communities.
When traditional options fail to provide this for each child, the shared responsibility of the community is to recognize the vulnerability of a child, and fulfill the function of the village to nurture him/her to independence and participation.
At the back door, community people participate as ‘elders’ to nurture and inform young people seeking the cultural cues to ‘fit’ into our shared ‘village’.”
‘It takes a village’ is repeated around the world. Many countries do not need to repeat it because they live it. In all the advantage and privilege of western society, it seems the phrase is most often repeated with encouragement and an urgency of pleading with adults to step up to the tasks required of our responsibility to children.
The powerful truth is that children will thrive without grandiose strategies. They need to be loved and safe and offered the opportunities their culture affords. Children are alongside us! They are not special focus responsibilities that require consultants or extreme measures. We share the same humanity and our lived experience is their most valued resource.
As we pay attention and listen with respect, they will nourish us beyond belief. Their trust will be our biggest pride. Their love will fill our hearts.
Individual circumstances will differ, but the core is in the wheelhouse of all of us. We are the ‘traditional options’ for the security of our children! We choose every day to be there for them.
*What is a birthright? Oxford dictionary says:
“ … a thing that somebody has a right to because of the family or country they were born in … or because it is a basic right of all humans. …”