This I Believe

Julie - Granada Hills, California
Entered on July 10, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: community

While I generally disagree with Hillary Clinton, looking back over the past 17 years raising our daughter, it is true that in many respects it does take a village to raise a child. Now, this is not what you might think, a mother going on about just how wonderful her child is because this child is such a perfect angel. This essay is not like that and neither is the wonderful daughter that my husband and I have raised thus far with the help our families and our many friends and acquaintances we know, through the various organizations to which we belong.

Many times, we have heard these unsolicited words describe our daughter, “She is a terrific young woman and has a wonderful personality.” We glow inside and immediately thank the speaker. Both my husband and I know that our daughter is naturally blessed with a good heart and a tremendous capacity to care for other people. She is very beautiful both inside and out, intelligent, has a deep sense of community, forthright, has a sharp and poignant wit, and is driven to succeed. This combination of talents is what has helped put her near the top of her class in High School, from which she will be graduating in June of 2007.

Some of these talents come to our daughter naturally but many of them have been honed by us, as parents, and the various people with whom we associate. One of the major contributors to the development of our daughter can be attributed to the fact that she was never in any type of daycare or babysitting situation in other than a family setting. This is true, whether it was actually our family members watching her, friends, or the family daycare near our house. When I went back to work part-time after 15 months, our daughter was in a family daycare with the daughter of neighbor from my childhood. It helps a lot that we live less than half a mile from my parents and my parents still live in the family home where I was raised.

We have been active in our local Catholic parish since we were married there almost 19 years ago. Our daughter attended school there for nine years and we knew all the families in her class. She is still best friends with a girl she met in Kindergarten. Our daughter was an Alter Server and now helps with the Confirmation program. Additionally, our daughter has been very involved in Girl Scouts and will be pursuing her Gold Award this year. We have some friends helping with ideas for that too.

My husband and I have always had friends from various walks of life, different religions, and races. These varied experiences have helped to shape our daughter into the woman she will become. I also believe that prejudice is a learned response and not a part of the normal human experience. In fact, our daughter chose the Catholic High School she attends because she could picture her friends there. She refused to go to one school, ‘I cannot go there because they are too white bread. I didn’t see [blank] in the room.”