Does it really take a village to raise a child? Or does it take a strong family? 

For years we’ve been told that it takes a village. There is an assumption that schools are also responsible for raising our children. However, they have a part to play in their education, but raising our children is not their lot–it’s ours.

From Steve Stiffler, comes some overdue wisdom,

Mainly it takes devoted parents. But we’d be foolish not to admit that a larger group of people can have a profound influence on a child. And fathers and mothers would be wise to make the best use of the available other people who can invest in their children—especially grandparents, of course.”

It is up to parents to make sure that those people investing in their children, are in fact the people they want to invest in them. That is quite different from the “it takes a village” mentality. 

In that frame of thought, it is the teachers, social workers and government influences that are shaping the minds of children. That is much different than the idea of family shaping the worldview and values of children. 

That’s where grandparents come in so nicely. As Stiffler puts it,

“Children look at us grandparents as magical creatures, because we embody the concrete, wonderful past.”

“Our albums and attics are full of treasures. We are like living links between generations. We’ve lived through wars, hard times, cultural changes, as well as their parents’ childhood. I’ve heard it said that when an old person dies, a library burns to the ground. We need to make sure our grandchildren visit that library often while they can.”

Do you remember what it was like to be a young parent? I sure do. It is a crazy time of life. Not only are you raising small children, but you are also trying to make your way into the adult world–making your mark, scratching out a living. 

In today’s world, dinner meals are seldom around a dinner table. Instead, they are scheduled around activities, practices and games. It’s hard to put one more thing on an active family’s plate. However, we grandparents can fill that gap. As Stiffler goes on to say,

“So we call around and coordinate schedules so everyone can be together during Christmas, even if we celebrate a week early or a few days late. Grandma cooks the turkey as only she can, and Grandpa sits at the head of the table, savoring the noise of all the aunts, uncles and cousins laughing and carrying on. We help to restore the deep meaning of the word home.”

As the holiday season approaches, it’s good to keep Stiffler’s words in mind. We, as grandparents hold an almost magical ability to create the image of our family that will live in our grandchildren’s minds throughout their adulthood. 

And if we have done well, they will want to do the same for their family.

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