It does take a village

Published 9:41 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

To the editor:

“It takes a village to raise a child.” — African Proverb

These words are so true. I truly believe no one does it alone. Not one parent has ever raised a child alone. There are family, neighbors, friends, clergy, coaches, teachers, bosses, strangers, etc., that have taught their children something they couldn’t or showed them something they needed — both good and bad. That is why I don’t understand what is happening in today’s world.

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In the wake of another avoidable tragedy, I am seeing lots of people pointing fingers and laying blame. This isn’t a simple problem, and there isn’t one simple solution. All of us are to blame. Our society has become increasingly selfish and irresponsible, and it is time for that to change.

Excuses don’t solve anything. They just make us feel better that the problem isn’t with us and someone else needs to fix it.

Except it doesn’t work that way. We all have to live in this society together. If you see something you think needs to change, instead of pointing a finger, ask yourself what you can do to change it. It could be something as simple as smiling at passersby, giving a compliment or offering a hand if you see someone struggling.

If you have time, can you volunteer in a school? Did someone volunteer for your kids? Pay it back. Can you join a group to help the homeless? Lots of children in homeless shelters could use a tutor or just a babysitter so their parent(s) can work on a resume or look for housing. Can you help at the Sunday school or nursery in your church? Have you volunteered in a school, church, the YMCA, etc., to mentor a child that may need you — a child that may not have the parenting role models they need? One or two hours a month from you could mean the world to someone else’s child and have a huge impact on our society. These are the things that made a difference in your life, and possibly in your children’s lives. Knowing that someone is there for your child when you can’t be — that’s our village.

Did you know there was a group of concerned parents right here in Suffolk working to make our schools better, safer, supported? Parents for Better Schools — Suffolk, VA is a Facebook page created to get more parents and community partners involved in our schools. It can be as simple as finding out about an event you missed or supporting our teachers. We have created a sub-group Suffolk Parents 4 School Safety that is meeting with the Superintendent’s Office to get safety items into our schools as quickly as possible. This group is working hard for our schools, our kids and our community. If you can join us, please do. Again, a small amount of time from you can make a huge impact on our community.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

What can you do?

Jennifer Brennon

Suffolk