Several years ago--somewhere in the mid90s--then First Lady Hillary Clinton wrote a very thought-provoking book, It Takes A Village.
While I am not an advocate of the federal, state or local governments controlling everything in life, the more I think about the phrase, "It takes a village", the more I believe it to be true.
Here's my reasoning:
1) I work in a career college here in Chicago. We serve, for the most part, minorities (mostly black and hispanic), about 65% of them being single parents. Every one of these people seem to want something better for their children than they themselves had. I can sympathize.
2) The day of "mom staying at home, raising the children while dad is the main 'breadwinner'" is for all intents and purposes over. That rarely happens anymore. I'm not taking sides as to whether it is right or wrong...I'm just saying it rarely happens anymore.
3) Children should never have to shoulder the burden of "raising themselves." But sadly, far too many children do shoulder that incredible burden. I encounter these "children" (anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child as far as I am concerned) regularly. And I always wonder what their life would be like if there were some caring adults around them all the time--to guide them, to offer their opinions and suggestions, and to teach them how civilized society should function.
4) There was a time when the child belonged to the neighborhood. I know this is true, because I grew up in one of those neighborhoods/communities. Every adult in area knew who I was, and where I lived. There was the sense of "well-being" and caring that was a a very natural part of growing up. I didn't have very much--actually we were very poor--but I developed good manners, received a great education (in the public schools, no less), and knew right from wrong. I learned not to be a victim...I learned that "life" has consequences. For some reason, it appears that far too many "children" no longer learn those lessons.
"Keeping up with the Joneses" is no longer our goal. "Keeping up with the Jetsons" is.
And we are reaping the results...
And they aren't pretty.
Maybe, just maybe, we can learn to be the village again. Our children, and our future depends on it.