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Group Blogging Project: Too Small To Ignore – Chapter 3 – “It Really Does Take a Village”

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by [auro])

For more info on what this group blogging project on the book Too Small To Ignore, read this.

Review of Chapter 3, “It Really Does Take a Village”
by Henry Zonio

The bulk of this chapter is a description of village life where Stafford grew up in Nielle. He talks about how everyones lives intertwined with everyone else’s. Even the huts were arranged around central familial courtyards so that family groups met together regularly and shared life with each other. Villagers freely went from courtyard to courtyard and shared in the raising of children, the making of meals, the caring of each other, the living of life. Most nights ended with everyone in the village gathered at the center where the chief’s hut was and sang, told stories, listened to stories and enjoyed the end of a hard day’s work.

Stafford isn’t naive to think that busy western life can mirror that of an African village, but he does contend that we need to recapture what it means to do life together as a community.

“Whatever the methods, the need remains for adults to surround children–their own and other people’s children as well–with love and attention and support. We are all in this together. None of us is meant to be an island. The word community is more than just a gray sociological descriptor. It is a God term, designed by the Creator of children to water their souls and enhance their spirits as they grow. To ignore this is to sow seeds of dysfunction and future trauma. To welcome the young into the center of our lives is to enrich not only them but ourselves as well.”

This kind of approach to life requires a major shift in culture. We have been so programmed to segregate generations as the norm that we don’t know what to do when we do get together. Add to that the crazy pace most of the western world lives with jobs and activities, and there is little time to include other people into the rhythms of our lives. We don’t have room for “one more friend.”

Somehow we have to fight this in culture. While I appreciate the push for family ministry in churches and ministering to families, I think we need to move beyond individual families and bringing entire church bodies into community or village groups that genuinely care for all generations and actively seek to have all generations reach out together into their communities to make a difference together.

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