I believe it takes a village to raise a child. In Turkey the community is close knit, when someone has a child the neighbors and the relatives of the families don’t leave the new mother by herself until after forty days has passed. This is a time to offer their advice and get a peak of the little one too. They also don’t leave the mother alone because when women give birth they often go through postpartum depression and the village fears for the new mother’s life and her newborns. This Islamic tradition has been going on for a long time and it even says to do so in the Qur’an.
As children start to play in the street with their friends, the minute any adult sees that something is about to go bad the adult is allowed to intervene with their game playing. The children always listen to that adult even if they don’t know them because in Turkey you must respect and listen to every adult. Everyone in Turkey helps raise everyone’s children. I know this from experience. I remember when I was little I used to play outside in front of my “annanne’s” grandmother’s apartment and play house with my friends, while the older relatives of the neighbors would kiss us all on both cheeks as a way of saying “hello” when they were about to enter their apartment buildings and would play with us for a couple of minutes. We never wanted them to leave us because they were the adult so we thought they knew the game better so to us it always was more fun.
As the children grow out of that age and more into adulthood it still stays much of the same as the whole village is raising everyone’s children. As the teenager gets older and enters into the social life of the family, the teenager usually is included in the gatherings typically serving tea or baked goods to the guest and getting involved in the conversations that take place. It gives them the ability to ask questions and to get ideas about things that are of immediate concern to young adults. In that while you’re serving tea and food, you are also being included in more adult-like conversations, and everyone always provides an opinion of what you should do because everyone thinks their way is the right way.
In the big cities it is not really less like this anymore but in the poorer parts of it, it is. I really do hope and believe that it should stay much of the same way because in times of need you really do need neighbors and family to be there for everything, and the neighbors do become your family. In fact in Turkey if there is a male who is 5 or so years older, then you must call him his name then add on “abi” (older brother), even if he is not related to you, it is the same for a female except you put “abla” (older sister) instead. The older people whether you know them or not, become your aunts and uncles “teyze & amca”. So the village becomes your family. I really do believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and Turkey has been doing it much longer then when Hillary Clinton suggested it.
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