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What does a community owe its children?

I was proofreading a high school literature textbook and came across this question, and I started wondering what moms would think.

"Parents, of course, have a huge commitment to their children. But what is the responsibility of a community to its young? A familiar African proverb staes, "It takes a village to be a cild." (That proverb has sort of been usurped for political reasons as of late.)

What about a soccer or baseball coach? A scout leader? A teacher? An aunt or uncle, or a family friend?


Asked by Ballad at 1:48 PM on Nov. 19, 2012 in General Parenting

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Answers (3)
  • I like this question. A community owes it's youth an example of what it means to be an adult. It owes it's youth an opportunity to better themselves. It owes it's youth a chance at life. Too many people do not care about what their every day life shows the children of today. Growing up.... even when I was raising my own children, we, as adults, were taught to set an example..... The lack thereof is why the world is in the shape it is in.

    Answer by m-avi at 2:47 PM on Nov. 19, 2012

  • When I think in terms of ideals or "bottom line," I think every child deserves safety, "belonging" and value. Every child should be welcomed with delight, seen for who she/he is and understood for what he or she intends. Obviously this orientation would start with parents, but imagine if it extended as a matter "of course" to the community that meets them, as well. Teachers, doctors, and beyond. I wish children were consciously recognized for what they bring the community by virtue of their existence alone, for they bring adults the opportunity to feel ourselves to be of value. Think if children were thus able to experience themselves as being of value, just because they exist, apart from any contribution or achievement.
    I believe this orientation would better support children's developing social responsibility (and the resulting achievements & contributions) than focusing on inculcating a sense of duty does.

    Answer by girlwithC at 6:29 AM on Nov. 20, 2012

  • I completely agree, M-avi. When I was growing up, kids were taught to respect adults. But the adults were worthy of respect, too. They were examples we could follow.

    There's this thing going around Facebook about "Stand Up for Kids." It's encouraging people to keep their eyes open, watch as kids go to school and return home, notice what's happening in their neighborhoods. It was sparked by the disappearance and death of Jessica Ridgeway, and I understand why it would be important to remind people to stay alert. Except that what I thought when I read it, and then saw this question in the textbook, was that people used to be alert without reminders. When my sister fell off her bike, givin herself a concussion and a broken collarbone, we were on the block where a former teacher of hers lived. That woman was out of her house and on the street before my brother and I even had time to think about what we should do.

    Comment by Ballad (original poster) at 9:36 PM on Nov. 19, 2012