I whole heartedly believe in the proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child".
There is the immediate village - close friends and family who love and care for the child directly and there is the peripheral village such as child care workers, babysitters, neighbours, coaches; those who know your child and participate someway in their well being.
It recently occurred to me that there is a whole other contingent to the village - those who don't participate in the direct well being of your child on a regular basis, people whose name you don't know, and probably will never know, yet they have a positive effect on your child. I've taken to referring to these members of my sons' village as The Randoms.The Randoms in My Sons' Village:
- The owner of the local meat shop who always asks if she can give my kids a snack (there is usually a sample out) and keeps them busy with dipping sauces galore while I make a purchase. I am at the point where I visit the store right around snack time.
- The cashier at my local grocery store who always talks to my children in the checkout, and goes VERY fast when I am in her line. Even if her line is longer, I still choose it as I know my children are excited to show her how they are helping, and she doesn't mind that I hand her ten things that ended up in my cart that I don't actually want. (Why do they put Kinder Eggs at 3 year old eye level...WHY?!)
- The woman at the gym who is on the same work out schedule as me. We pass each other in the gym babysitter check in. We always smile and say hello and wish each other a good workout, and meet again as we pick up our children. The other day she asked me a few questions about my 3 year old - using his name. I realized that she had not only been getting to know me in passing, but also my children. I look out for her son when I drop off my kids, and wouldn't hesitate to let her know if I saw he needed anything, and I suspect, vice versa.
- The kind grandma who goes swimming when my sons' lessons are over. We are both creatures of habit - I almost always choose the same locker - as does she - so we inevitably meet as I am getting my youngest dressed and she is getting ready to swim. She is so kind - asks my boys a bunch of questions about swimming and reacts with excitement when they respond.
While these people, and many more like them, are simply being kind, they form a safety net for the children as well. We recognize each other, and as such, are more likely to notice if something is a-miss. An extra set of eyes, if they are ever needed, would be invaluable.
And my kids have yet to pass up a chance to talk about their swimming or grocery shopping helping to anyone.
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