The Village is everyone, everywhere!
The village is everywhere!! Before children are walking/talking, they are capable of navigating through electronic devices. It’s almost amazing how effortlessly it happens. Its also very scary! YouTube is awesome and scary at the same time. Those next video suggestions that come up don’t always relate to the previous video, needless to say, your kids aren’t always watching innocent cartoon shows! The same works with the television. I have to say, I really do not believe in a TVs in the bedroom! Many think I’m a little extra for this but the truth is, we should be supervising what are children are consuming. “You are what you eat!” So we’ve got to watch what we are allowing our children to consume. This e-generation is causing our children not to read on time or as early as children used to. But of course they are pretty tech savvy!
Outside of the house, you’ve got the boys/girls in the hood. This is basically the peers of our children. We know kids are always watching and listening! Despite the fact that we don’t let kids outside as much as we used to (we won’t discuss obesity); when they are outside, they are learning from these people that they see interacting in the streets of our neighborhoods.
Let’s be clear, when we send our children to school, the teachers are not the only ones teaching! Students go to school to learn social behaviors as well as academics. Let’s talk about recess. Recess is where it all goes down! Students are alert and learning from each other in that sandbox or under the swings. Why do you think our young kids come home learning news dances and saying phrases that you never taught them. They actually get it from their peers in school, who got it from their many influences (often times older siblings, boys/girls in their neighborhoods, etc.).
Same thing goes for the Church. We send our children to Sunday school and church but some of the kids in the classroom are bringing knowledge from the classroom or their neighborhood. Many of them may be really paying attention and learning spiritual matters, but we cannot be blind to the fact that some of our children are learning social behaviors from the children and youth at our churches (that pick it up from elsewhere).
Don’t Shelter, Filter!
This is scary! As a single woman with no children, but a whole lot of nieces, nephews, cousins and kids around me, I am scared to have children in this world. I go back and forth with the idea that I want 8 kids so that my children have plenty of sibling-friends or just not having any children at all. Eventually my children have to go outside and I don’t want them to catch whatever seems to be in the air with the kids out there these days!
My advice, don’t shelter your kids, just filter! Filter what they are watching, filter who they spend time with, filter everything. No need to get crazy (like I assume I may be at the beginning when I have my first child). But we have to pay attention to what has our children’s attention. Many defects are developed in childhood. We can help shape our children by simply explaining to our children why we do not allow them to watch certain shows or hang out with children whose parents don’t supervise them. The scariest story is the ones where children go to a ‘friend’s house’ and are left unsupervised, then they come home speechless. Years later, parents find out that something inappropriate happened because the friend simply let the kids do what they wanted in the back room without supervision, assuming they were good.
Pray and Teach
All we can do is pray for our children and teach them the right path.
‘Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. ‘
‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ‘
Prayer is truly the only way to cover your child. We can’t shelter them. We may not always be able to filter who/what they will encounter. (Won’t even mention police brutality or molestation from family members teachers, coaches and priests). You really can’t depend on people! Instead of worrying, we can choose to train our children up in an upright manner and pray for them and with them!
We should take some of that TV or YouTube time and create at-home bible study/prayer time. Just the same way we can’t expect our children to learn everything in the classroom from their teachers, we most certainly cannot depend on the Sunday School teacher to teach our children all spiritual matters themselves. We must be teaching our children at home. Homework is more than academics! They need to be building their characters as early as they are learning the ABCs, they can be learning/memorizing bible verses (that’s the sword, they will need that later!). As they are learning about bullying, they can be learning about compassion and the Love of God. We must be intentional with raising our children. Teach them to pray by actually praying with them and letting them take the lead. We must teach our kids at home all of the things they may not find in other places in the Village.
We are the Village
Don’t let the streets raise your kids. As the notorious Auntie Kencia, the kids around me know when I come through, I’m asking about God, school and life! It’s corny and may seem annoying at the time, but the truth is, I have realized my place in the village. Some of their parents don’t have the time to ask some of the questions that I ask their kids, so I play my part. I shape the children around me. I urge you to do that same! Pray for the children around you. If you see them slip up, shape them up! You don’t always have to beat children to keep them in check. Ask my nieces and nephews, Auntie Kencia is Queen of Lectures! They probably hurt worse than the beating, I always make them shed a tear or two, but the lesson sticks more than the beatings! Even doing a shoulder drive-by. Take a look over their shoulders to see what the kids are watching on their electronic devices. Let’s play our part in the village. We have to watch what our kids are eating and doing! Eventually, they will be the doctors that operate on us, pastors that pray with us, engineers that build for us, etc. We have to mind their future success even if they do not understand why now. It’s our job to train up our children and shape them now!
I pray that you were blessed and you were encouraged to go and play your role in the village so we can shape our children in the right way!
Until Next Post…