This I Believe

Josephine - Flint, Michigan
Entered on October 25, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe it takes a village to raise a child. Ok, so maybe not a “village” village, but definitely a group of people who share a common love for the child.

I was raised in a single-parent home. We immigrated here from Taiwan when I was seven, and my mother was determined to raise “good kids” despite her not being able to drive or speak a word of English. How did she do it, you ask? How did she raise two children in a foreign country all by herself? The answer is that she didn’t.

My first memory of the “village” in my life was when my mother broke her ankle. As a child, I had no concept of broken bones; I just knew I was hungry and didn’t want to miss school. Both problems, among many others, were anticipated and solved without my mother even having to ask. A few years later, when we got into our first car accident, friends drove over in the rain and let us wait in their car while they helped my mom deal with the police and tow truck. When my mom started working the early shift, a kind neighbor drove us to school every morning so we wouldn’t have to trek through the snow. When we didn’t know what to do or where to go for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other “American holiday,” friends invited us over and made us a permanent fixture in their family traditions. When our basement flooded, when we locked ourselves out of the house, when our kitchen floor needed new tiles, when my brother got the chicken pox, when my chin required stitches, when my mom worked overtime, when my brother and I needed to be in different places at the same time…..for every “when” in my life, I have a corresponding memory of someone stepping up to help my mother shoulder the burden.

My mother’s move to the States may have been the most challenging, but her wisest move was to invite people into our family and allow her children to be loved by others. She recognized the importance of a sturdy safety net, and because of the “village” she helped create, I can confidently declare that my brother and I had glorious childhoods. Because of our village, we have become strong, well-rounded, caring adults.

I don’t believe there has to be exactly one mother and one father to raise happy, healthy children. I don’t even believe there is a definite “right” way to raise children. But this I believe: children need and deserve to have people in their lives who are wholeheartedly committed to protecting and preserving their well-being, and thus every adult should make it a priority to be involved in a village that’s actively raising a child.