It Takes A Parish to Raise a Child and Other Lessons Children Teach Us
By Diane Wilczak
In her recent best seller, It Takes A Village, Hilary Rodham Clinton
idealizes a model of community which not so many years ago served as the nurturing
environment that many of us grew up in, but for the most part seems to be extinct in
these days of broadband, handheld devices and Anytime Minutes. It was that time and place
where children were allowed to be children, and enjoyed being children well into their
teen years without assuming adult pressures, habits, problems, or woes, and without being
targeted and bombarded as a lucrative consumer market. It was a time of school and of
play, daily chores and weekly allowances. It was a time when adults were respected just
for the fact that they were adults, and old folks were respected on an even greater scale
for the grandeur of their age. It was a time and a place where adults felt a sense of
mutual responsibility, just because they were adults. There was a responsibility toward
family, church, neighbors, employers and the overall well being of the community.
Responsible adults were supportive of each other's efforts; they were
not afraid to set a neighbor's mischievous child straight, and then follow up their action
with a phone call to the child's parents relating the reprimand, so as nine out of ten
times there would be another dose of reckoning waiting at home. Life's lessons were passed
along from the old to the young with purpose, through repetition, tradition and by example.
For all practical purposes, the neighborhood was an extended family.
This communal extended family concept seems to be lost on society these
days, and I am sorry to say that I seriously doubt that it can ever make a strong
neighborhood comeback in an age where the word communication means digital accessibility,
where mobility means relocating every year or two, and what passes for meaningful
relationships are all too often virtual in nature. Yet, let us not grieve, all is not
lost. I have found the elusive extended family to be quite alive and well, and thriving
wholeheartedly, right here, within Saint Luke parish.
For what is this parish if not our spiritual neighborhood? It is the
place we settle upon to make our own, call our own, put down roots and build upon,
surrounded by friends and neighbors, likeminded and supportive in common
union - the living, breathing, community of Christ. In this wonderful neighborhood we are
all children, and we are all adults.
As children of God we are allowed to live without fear, without worry
or woe, knowing that our well-being is within the merciful hands of our Father. Jesus bids
us to be as children, to live and to learn with open eyes, open minds, and open hearts.
As a former elementary school teacher and a mother, I have seen the world though the eyes
of children, and I believe that I understand the beautiful simplicity and joy which Jesus
wishes for all of us, if only we can find the courage to put aside all the baggage which
adulthood heaps upon us. Then, as children, we may best follow His living example of
As adults in our parish we are responsible for nurturing and supporting
the well being of our spiritual neighborhood, our extended family, and although we may
not always be together, we are never apart. We are bound by our faith, our history and
our traditions. Through the years I have sought both strength and solace within this
parish, and I have never been left wanting.
So no, Hilary, it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a