Homefires - The Journal of Homeschooling OnlineHomefires - The Journal of Homeschooling Online

It Does NOT Take A Village To Raise A Child

By Diane Flynn Keith

It does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a nurturing family. Period.

I am distressed by this latest rhetoric that implies that a family is incapable of taking care of its own. Who thinks this stuff up - the village idiot? "Hmmm, let's see...maybe if we use an old African proverb in a catch-phrase we can convince people to subscribe to our agenda: the government should raise, educate and maintain all children." Excuse me. The "village" should not be responsible for us or for our children from cradle to grave. Just because some people - for a thousand different reasons - are not able to properly provide for their children doesn't mean the rest of us have to be condemned to institutionalizing and warehousing our kids. Nor does it mean that we should have to subscribe to government social programs designed "for our own good." Slowly but surely our personal and parental authority and freedom have been chipped away. In many instances we have been duped into giving it away under the auspices of "the common good." The "village" is just another way to say more government. Enough!

I believe that you are capable of raising your own children. I think that you have more concern for your children's welfare, more knowledge of what they need emotionally, socially, spiritually, and academically than anyone else in the world. You have lovingly invested more time, energy, and effort to provide for your children, to nurture them, to cuddle them, to educate them, to understand them, to help them grow into the capable, loving, responsible people that you know they can be, than any teacher, day-care provider, social service agency, school, church, pediatrician, child psychologist, parent-teacher association, department of education, National Education Association, brain research specialist, lobbyist, congressman, senator, or First Lady.

No one else in the world cares as much about your children as you do. You are the best authority on your own children. Your heart provides better guidance as to what your children need than any consensus opinion by a panel of experts anywhere. Trust it.

Parents are the best people for the job of raising children. Parents make good teachers. Why do we doubt this? Why do we seem so willing and eager to give up our parental authority and responsibility? Why do we want to abdicate our freedom to parent our own children - to turn over their lives to government institutions and social programs? I wonder if it's because personal freedom requires personal responsibility. Personal responsibility equates to hard work in some people's minds. Responsibility requires thought, creativity, care, expenditure of effort, relentless determination, optimism, perseverance, trust, hope, tolerance and respect for other people, their views, and their property. Does that sound like hard work? If it does, is that an undesirable thing? Have we come to view hard work as disagreeable - something to be avoided? Why? When the truth is, it is a thrilling, invigorating, empowering, self-perpetuating opus that makes the journey of life worth living. I implore you to reconsider the idea of personal responsibility and the freedom it perpetuates. Embrace it, and teach your children to embrace it, while you still can.

Copyright 1996-2003, All Rights Reserved, Diane Flynn Keith.

Diane Flynn Keith has homeschooled her sons for 11 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a homeschool advocate, writer, and speaker. Diane is the editor of Homefires~The Journal of Homeschooling Online. Her book titled Carschooling® was recently published by Prima Publishing (a division of Random House).