Monday, August 19, 2013

apathetic village

It takes a village to raise a child.

In general, nobody can do it alone. One needs a support system of some kind, a network of grown-ups willing to look after the well-being of children for everyone's good. It helps when this network is of like-minded people. However, in everyday interactions, we are faced with all kinds of folks, and they might not share the same values, or have the same level of tolerance as we do. Our kids still need to behave in a way that is bearable.

Sometimes I wish that the village was not so laid-back, politically correct and hands-off. Sometimes I wish that when my kids are being too loud in a public place, somebody else would hush them. When they are in a restaurant and they are getting rowdy, let the server tell them that they cannot stay. When they are being rude to an adult, let the adult tell them as much. When they are turning in a half-baked work, let it be rejected instead of being greeted with "Good job!" They will not break from these experiences, but they will find out where the limit of the village is.

Nobody said that the village is kind. Generally, I would like to mind my own kids without others interfering. Yet I wonder, wouldn't being kicked out from a show for being too disruptive teach them more about being quiet than all the hushing I can do?

Oh, I would love to have those kids, the ones with napkins on their laps and indoor voices, always putting their best foot forward. Until I get them, I might need the village to be a bit more vigilant, for my sake.


  1. A question: are you willing to help "parent" other people's kids the same way you want the village to help parent yours?

    Bottom line, it is our responsibility to raise our own kids. Whatever they don't learn as kids, the village will teach them as adults, only the lesson will be a lot more painful.

    1. Were I not willing to do it, I would not be bringing up the issue, would I? I hear that it is still common in Israel, for grown-ups to correct and take collective responsibility for "our" children, both in a good way, and in a bad.