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A vulnerable child

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While a child without good parents is vulnerable, equally so is the child without meaningful community connections. A child needs meaningful contact with other adults and children who can reflect back to them a sense of their identity, who they are, who they are not, what they can be, what they want to be.

In all of human history, it has only been very recently that the nuclear family (two parents) has been seen to have sole responsibility for the child – even more recently of course it is the single parent who has been expected to do it alone.

No matter how well intentioned, no parent or institution or expert system can provide for all the child’s needs. Some parents cope better than others, but what happens to the child if for some reason a parent cannot cope – if they have an accident, a bad health turn or some other turn in fortune?

If we are serious about vulnerable children, then attention to building a well connected local community is imperative.

Does it still need a village to raise a child? What do you think?

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1 Comment

  1. Tasha says:

    I think that both children and parents grow and develop in a healthier way when they are surrounded by others who are supportive, and who care. I recently visited my sister who has two young children. After having difficulties in a home around the Nelson area, where people were quite distant from one another, she moved to a place near Motueka, where the people seem to have a genuine sense of community, and are very supportive of each other.

    There are many children in the area, and it was a real pleasure to see how well everyone connected. It was also great to see, as we were passing through different communities, how many people knew my sister and her children, and how many stopped to talk along our way. I think it’s sad that most people can’t find the opportunity to connect in order to help one another. It’s unfortunate, I believe that so many people enjoy doing things for others, but the people who need support, and the people who are willing to help, often cannot seem to find one another.