My sister and I grew up away from family as my parents settled in a small Ontario town for a job opportunity. As a result, we saw our maternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins only a few times a year. Although we were close and loved going to Massachusetts, the physical distance didn’t allow us to fully take advantage of our ‘village of attachment.’
The African saying of “It takes a village to raise a child,” is a rather accurate reflection of what our attachment village is – the natural circumstances that allow kinship and community to help with the raising and care of children. It is the emotional bonds children form with extended family members, close neighbours and family friends, that allow a child to be influenced and cared for by adults in addition to their own parents. When we lean into our village, we broaden and expand our circle of attachment, creating for our children deeper familial roots and a stronger foundation from which to navigate from.
Perhaps because of our experience of being away from extended family, a natural response for my sister and I was to cultivate an attachment village for our own children. Time spent between our homes, and that of our parents was pretty free flowing; if it wasn’t sleepovers for the kids on the weekends, it was time spent together after school. Summers were a often a blur of children to be found in any of our three homes.
Although I can honestly say that the intention to form an attachment village wasn’t based on the knowledge we now have about the importance of kinship in raising our children, it happened nonetheless and I am forever grateful that my girls have a strong village – which also includes life long friends who have become family to my kids.
It takes a village to raise a child.
Tomorrow’s post will look at how we can move towards creating an attachment village for our children.