It Takes A Village to Raise A Child

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There is a popular African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. It highlights the need for a community involvement in the rearing of the next generation and rejects the notion of individualism. People of African descent that live in the diaspora have adopted the western customs of individualism and discarded the African values of community and family.

Individualism promotes self-interest and encourages people to pursue their own interest at the expense of the family or community. Parenting was just not meant for the father or mother but to the extended family and adults in the community at large. In the village there are village elders who set the norms and values of the village. They are the ones who judge immoral or moral behavior acceptable or non-acceptable behavior. The village has standards and they enforce the standards by which everyone is expected to live by. In western countries particularly in America young people are encouraged to challenge authority and to embrace the norms of the teen culture and pursue happiness to wherever it leads.

The community is not empowered to discipline children and schools are run by teenagers rather than adults. Teachers and school administrators cannot use corporal punishment hence when children fight they call the cops and the children are sent to jail and become convicted criminals before they even become adults. Slavery produced matriarchal black homes as black men were separated from their families and sold off to other plantations. Another result of slavery was working long hours which meant that fathers who were present were still absent from instilling values into their children as they hardly spent any time together.

In the early 1900s the great migration saw a dislocation in the African American family as fathers moved north in search of work in the urban areas. Some eventually brought their families from down south up north. Women who were left in the south ran their families affairs in the absence of the father who went out seeking greener pastures for his family.

In the African diaspora, children are reared by television and take up the morals of Hollywood which highlights sex, drugs and the pursuit of pleasure. Many people believe that civil rights era and welfare programs led to the degradation of the family and the community because the government began to fulfill the role that had been fulfilled by the community in the past. All of a sudden people did not need each other but could rely on welfare and other government programs.

The reality is the scarcity of jobs in the urban areas led to the degradation of the family in the African diaspora. When men could no longer provide for their families they left and the number of single families began to increase. Today the levels of fatherless homes in black America is alarming. The answer to fatherlessness is not mentors for children as liberalism teaches but the solution is fathers and building healthy families within communities.

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