The etymology of this phrase is likely derived from an old Nigerian proverb. The historical communal nature of African tribes lends itself to a village mentality for, not only raising children, but also foraging, hunting, building, farming, or any activity a community would need to survive.
As a society, we have outsourced every activity on this communal list; even raising children. We send them to daycares and schools. Some who can afford, hire nannies or babysitters on a regular basis. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate for date nights and maintaining a strong bond with your spouse (I’ve even written about it…read here) and I’m not being critical of this outsourcing mentality. We do it at my house, too. The point? If we spend our time and money on outsourcing the care and education of our own children, we certainly aren’t focused on other people’s children.
Especially in a Christian environment where, statistically, half of the children we see in Sunday school won’t continue their faith passed 12th grade. We need MORE adults in our kids’ lives, not less. My goal for each child is, through the years, they come to know and trust 4-8 adults to be mentors and stand-in parents. These relationships foster a watchdog and nurturing mentality that every parent should want for their kids. If you think you should parent by yourselves, then you are missing an amazing opportunity for your child to know love from a multitude of different people. Jesus did say, “…and most importantly, love.”
The next time you see one of our Sunday School volunteers, thank them. They are the boots on the ground, soldiers for Jesus adults with whom they have begun to create these critical early faith journey relationships. Continue to encourage and foster these relationships because without them, your child may end up on the dark side of the 50%!