We’re all familiar with the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The quote is often said to be of West African origin, though the Yale Book of Quotes says there is no record of the saying in West African literature. The expression probably has its roots in a comment made by Toni Morrison (whose works involve African themes); she was quoted in Essence, July 1981: “I don’t think one parent can raise a child. I don’t think two parents can raise a child. You really need the whole village.” From a certain point of view I take issue with this statement, especially as it has been used to justify (by a certain former first-lady) the notion that a socialistic government is the answer to our problems with the education of children. God’s inviolable plan for raising healthy children is a healthy family–and not an intrusive, meddlesome government. Does that mean, however, that there isn’t a role for the village? I think there is.
This brings us back to family. We all have seminal families, but we also have extended families. One of the great metaphors in Scripture is that the redeemed are brought together under the headship of God, our Heavenly Father, as a family. The Apostle Paul said,
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)
This is incredibly good news! When we come to Christ we are adopted into God’s family. As such, we become an extended family in which we all have the opportunity to flourish. Every one of us need connection with a family; this is how we have been made, and because we share this bond in Christ, Summit is also an extension of that family.
Call it a village, call it a family, there comes a point when semantics can get in our way. The point is, whether we are a single parent, or Dad and Mom together, we need a lot of help raising our kids. That is one of the reasons you have enrolled your children at Summit.
There is another side to this, however. We need the help of others—but we also have the responsibility to help others. As a school we rely heavily on the help that parents can bring to our collective purposes. In many respects relationships, especially in a family, can be compared to financial transactions: There are times when we make withdrawals and “receive” from others. Then there are times when we make deposits and “give” to others. As in any transaction—or family—we get into trouble if our deposits don’t meet (or exceed) our withdrawals. I encourage you to give of your time and talents. The bottom line equates to the welfare of our children.