“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” Herman Melville
The title is taken from the African proverb ”It takes a village to raise a child.” The village of the present, however, is not the suburb or small town of memory or nostalgia but the global village, the ”network of values and relationships that support and affect our lives.” – It Takes a Village – The New York Times
Love her or hate her, long before she became that Hillary, she was First Lady, wife, mother and author. It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful books you’ll ever read. I mean, if you like this kind of thing… and I DO.
It is a book about children, first and foremost, but it is also a book about ALL humanity. Because, whether you (or I) believe it or not, everything is affected by everything else. If you don’t believe me, take a moment to read about it here: The Butterfly Effect. There are plenty of studies and scientific proof but there is also an emotional and even spiritual component. I feel like (at least) a little bit of faith is involved. For one thing, we don’t often see the results of those flapping wings, do we? It’s something that happens in the future or across the globe. Sensitive people like me possibly romanticise the notion… I get that. But, I’d rather be like me. Jus’ sayin’.
In 1996, I (like a whole whack of other folks) rushed to the bookstore to buy this book. Wow, gotta stop a minute. The bookstore. What a concept. Back in the day, right? No superstore, no coffee shop inside, no everything-BUT-books… just a little bookstore. Walls of books. Shelves in-between. Filled with books.
Anyway. Digressed, there.
I ran to the store to buy this book and pretty-much devoured it. It was fantastic! Of course, I wasn’t the only one to think so. It immediately became a best seller.
It Takes A Village is about coming together to raise our children… but like I said in the beginning, it is also so much more!
I love, love, love the idea of “the family of humanity”… and all of us being there for each other… a listening ear, a soft landing, a rescue (if needed) or a nudge from the nest (also, if needed). Family. Wow. So important!
Given my thoughts about the matter, it probably surprises you to know that only four years later, I was far, far away from my family (both by blood and choice). Yes, that is a dichotomy. And it is something that I must live with (as they have, did and do). It is one of the ways in which I stepped away from what I believed. There were a few of those missteps, back then.
Then I found myself in a bit of a conundrum, as you might imagine. We’d always hoped that I’d be able to travel for holidays and such… I would go to them or they would come to me. The reality (mostly of the financial cost) of it slapped all of us across the collective-face(s). Yeah, bummer, that!
So yes, I wish I were closer to help my mom and dad… and assist my adult children in whatever ways they need… and babysit my grandson when Mommy needs a break (or grandma needs a hug). Mostly dreaming about it all, these days. What’s that quote? Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans? Yeah, something like that.
But you know, the book tackles that, too. Because it truly IS about EVERYone raising children… and how it strengthens us as a whole.
I promised myself not to get into politics, and it can be done with this book because it’s not the focus. But I’d be foolish not to “warn you” in advance that it does have… what some might call… an… uh… okay, agenda. There. I said it. It leans left. But that’s all I’ll say and it isn’t the message. And, I mean, did you expect anything less?
My final thoughts on this book are these: The premise is solid, compassionate and clear. Our children need us.
As a young and inexperienced mother, I would have done well to seek counsel from my elders. I didn’t. Many young mothers don’t… even today… when we know better.
It was time to see our world as a village long-before 1996. It’s still time.
“It Takes a Village offers a universal, unifying message. It captures perfectly Clinton’s vision of a multicultural America working toward a constructive goal. So hopeful and forward-looking.” —The Washington Post