10 Ways to Tell if Your Neighborhood is Really a Village


 “It takes a village to raise a child.”

-African Proverb

It’s one of the most well-known quotes in the world. The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. Everyone in the extended family, as well as in the wider physical community, is involved in the raising of the children, the tending of the land, and the overall health of the village.

Do you live in a “village?” Many of us live in neighborhoods, but can we consider them our “village”? Here are 10 ways to tell if the people in your neighborhood are really your village.

  1. They are the unofficial neighborhood watch. They post on Facebook if there is a loose dog or a creepy truck hanging around. They call and confirm with you when they see a random dude in a nondescript uniform walking around in the backyard. They are keeping the whole village safe.
  2. They are your kids’ home away from home. Your kids feel safe talking to and being around them. You feel comfortable with your kids spending significant time in their homes. Often they have similar rules to yours, and so you feel good about your kids being raised there for a couple of hours every day.
  3. Everyone’s alley, sidewalk, driveway, and yard is fair game. Because of #1 and #2, you know that someone always has eyes on the kids, and will have band aides or a bathroom available at any given moment. And at the very least, they are willing to yell “CAR!!!!” as the children scramble to to sides of the alley, out of the way.
  4. They are your social life too! Porch gatherings, block parties, game nights, pool days. It’s nice to have other grown-ups to talk to… We have even gone on vacation with some of our neighbors!!
  5. They take care of your “stuff.” They bring you meals when you have a baby, mow your lawn when your hubby is out of town, chase after the trash that blew out of your overflowing trashcan, bring in your mail and water your garden when you are on vacation, and let your dog out when you are stuck in traffic.
  6. They are a portable grocery store. Need a cup of sugar? Next door. Two aspirin? Three doors down. Three scoops of dog food? Behind you. An extra carseat for the day? Across the street. No sweat.
  7. They support you and your kids financially. They are willing to take one for the team and buy six boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and 12 rolls of wrapping paper. Not to mention, they will come to every. single. one. of your Arbonne/Thirty-One Bags/Pampered Chef parties so you can get the free hostess gifts. Provide mimosas and you’ll double the crowd!
  8. They yell at your kids.  hey care about the well-being of your children enough to know when they need to be corrected. And the relationship they have with you allows them to feel comfortable doing it. And you are fine with it! {see #2}
  9. They don’t judge you. They have seen you, your family, and your home at your best and worst. And they still love you.
  10. They trust you with their needs too. You are more than willing to carpool, be an emergency contact or even an occasional babysitter, and you are happy to do #1-#7 for them too! But just like them, you also are a shoulder to cry on and an ear to vent to. After all, the health of the village is dependent on the health of the adults in it.

I am so very lucky to live and raise my kids in a fabulous village…how about you?