Saturday, May 19, 2012

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Call it a cliché or call it a Proverb.  I call it a truth.  We cannot raise a child without others.  Some days it feels like we are in it all on our own.  As FireWives it is when the 48s seem to be never ending and 2 have projects due tomorrow and the other 2 just are projecting - be it their voices (at their siblings) or their toys (at the dogs) or vomit (all over the table).  As parents we often thing our kids are only ones to have ever gone through this. The baby won't stop crying.  The toddler throws a fit in the store when told no. As a community, too often we feel it is not our job.

But it is.

We are responsible for the future, and that future is in our kids.  And they are just that - OUR kids.

I often confuse people.  Well, aside from the usual, I confuse them when I talk about "my kids".  I have gotten into the habit of calling my students "my kids", because they are indeed my kids.  I have kids to this day, who call me Mom.  And that is just how it is.  So, when you hear me talk about my kids and it doesn't make sense, ask me which ones.  I have tried to get in the habit of saying, "my kids at school" but sometimes the idea comes out before the clarification.

This is also why I get up on my soap box about the infant mortality crisis we have here in Milwaukee.  They are OUR kids.  Not their kids.  We need to work with the families in our communities  to do what is right by OUR kids.  Keeping the safe, making sure they are fed and making sure that they are all appropriately educated.  That is OUR job.  These are the kids who will be OUR doctors, OUR lawyers, OUR leaders.  And if we lead by example - one of kindness, compassion as well as logical and thoughtful - they will learn develop those traits. 

They are ALL our kids.

One of the classes we teach in my department is Morality. Probably my favorite class to teach, aside from my history class.  I know that we are a Catholic institution and I not necessarily focusing on morality pertaining to SIN per se, but what makes a GOOD person.  Just imagine if it was something that was focused on in every home, with every family and every child.  Kindness, compassion, humility, patience, justice, charity, honesty...just think.  Our kids emulate what they see.  If our superstars did what was right because they should, instead of whatever they want - to the point of excess, because they can, imagine how our kids would react.
Our Guidance counselor Mark, used one of these YEARS ago when we were discussing this idea.
Makes me miss Grand Avenue...

So, think about this today when you see kids in the neighborhood, with no one to play with.  Or you see a mom struggling in the store.  Or your family welcomes a new little one.  We - parents, teachers, police officers, firefighters, superstars, librarians, pastors and priests, aunts and uncles, waitstaff, doctors and nurses, neighbors and friends - are all responsible for who they will become.  Just IMAGINE the possibilities.

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