The Rise and Fall of “It Takes A Village”

By: Melanie Anderson

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Years ago when I was a kid, I used to hear the saying, “It takes a village” from my parents and just about every other parent. We quickly learned what it actually meant. It meant that if we, the children, were out playing in the neighborhood, any parent that saw one of us doing something wrong had our parents’ permission to scold us. We typically got the old, “Would your parents let you do that at home?” It could have been “knock it off or go home” or maybe an “if you don’t stop that your parents are getting a call.” 

My parents never got a call because we would stop what we were doing. Those were the good old days. The days where everyone minded their own P’s and Q’s. The days where parents didn’t get offended very easily by other parents. The days where it was easy to just be a kid.

Where did we go wrong? When did “it takes a village” turn into judgmental parenting?

My personal opinion is that the rise of social media took over. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how everyone else should raise their kids. Everyone thinks they know best, and we don’t take advantage of knowing our neighbors anymore. 

Let’s start with not knowing our neighbors. No one, back then or now, wanted a stranger scolding their kids. Back then a stranger was someone you passed by at the store. Today a stranger is likely your neighbor. We don’t leave our own four walls much. Work, school, home has become much of our lives. Our contact with the outside has gone from communicating face-to-face back then, to just our small little world on social media inside the comfort of our home. Strangers are now our neighbors.

Then we move on to social media where everyone has an opinion and they feel their opinion is dead on. Everyone knows exactly what’s best for everyone else; and sometimes, if they think you’re doing it wrong, they can hang you out to dry with what can feel like a public flogging on social media. It’s a horrible feeling to be on the receiving end of this. People tend to turn to personal public attacks, with or without pictures, on social media rather than minding their own business. 

“It takes a village” seems to have evolved with our ever changing world, but not in a good way. We need to get back to the basics of the saying, for our kids’ sake. No one parent is a perfect parent. No one parent knows what’s best for every other child. 

If this is what the village has become, thanks but no thanks; I will raise my own village. 

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