Now that you’ve started to build and be intentional in building your village and villages within different communities that you operate in, now is the time to help others start to examine their own. Because I work with students (primarily middle school, high school, and college students), I can tell you what healthy community can do specifically for the adolescent world. Students at that age spend more time with peers (whether online or in-person in today’s society) than any other group of people. So let’s say that’s a healthy group of peers, great! But what if that’s not a healthy group of peers? Well, the trajectory starts to change.
The old adage that it takes a village to raise a child isn’t obsolete, and I would argue that it is now more needed than ever. I believe that part of that village needs to be healthy adult interaction. This is where I’m going to start stepping on people’s toes, so go ahead and pull them under your seat. Yes, I know that our world is different than the 50’s or the 60’s, but that doesn’t change the need for other healthy adult interaction in students’ lives, but it does change the way that we can encourage that.
Yes, there are people that have violated the trust and authority that has been given them. I’m not denying that. Instead I’m hoping that each of you reading this could be trusted to guide and engage with a teenager and not violate the honor and authority that has been gifted to put you in that role. Here are some people that you can invite (after fully vetting, trusting your gut on the person, and making sure it’s appropriate):
- family friends
- friend’s families
- youth pastors
- youth leaders/volunteers
And then give them the capacity to speak truth and call out the gold in each of your children” lives. Here’s more information on why there should be at least five other adults in your child’s life. Because here’s always my rule of thumb, a parent can say something to a child and the child doesn’t want to hear it because it’s coming from their parent — they have too; they have too! It’s innate in them. But I could say the same thing as a parents and now it’s pure gold. We aren’t replacing parents here; we are walking alongside of them.
So make sure that the people you are inviting into your child’s village will be a responsible voice of reason, share the gold they see in your child, call them to a higher standard of living, and walk alongside you as a parent and them when times are tough, but also great. You get to help design your child’s village, so who are the people that you would want to see included? Take some time this week to think through those people and then ask them to help you. It’s important, not just for your child, but for you as a parent too!