The old African proverb refers to the idea that "it takes a village to raise a child." Although I may not be a mother, I am definitely old enough to appreciate all of the hard work that it takes to bring up children, which makes it easy to understand where this proverb came from.
When I think about my own upbringing, I must mainly attribute it to my mother and grandmother. However, my life has been impacted by so many others: family members, teachers, role models, friends, mentors. Each and every person contributed in some way to make me the person I am today.
Although a mother's wisdom is unlimited, the raising of a child is a true combination of the moral compass it has been raised with and the influences from the people in the surrounding environment. You can teach your child how to communicate and talk with others, but it is by talking with others that they learn an entirely separate skillset, which helps each individual develop who they are.
When I think about a life without all the words and wisdom from those around me, I do not think I would be able to be as open-minded, thoughtful with my words, and inclusive in my actions. It is by learning from the experiences of those around me that I am able to process the kind of mindset that I want myself to have.
As times have changed, I think it is even more prevalent why one needs a whole village to raise a child. The world is ever-evolving and is already much different than when I was 10 years old. Now we have to worry about children on social media, children being safe beyond the perimeters of their yard, and children being safe in their schools. It is a whole new lifestyle; one that can be chaotic, worrisome, and stressful, to say the least.
I can only imagine that if each mother, father, or guardian was the sole person responsible for a developing human, we would all be in big trouble. It is through our interactions with others that we learn to grow and see the world in a new set of eyes. Only in this way can we challenge each other and learn to grow.
So yes, at the cusp of 20, I am grateful. I am grateful to each and every person who has impacted my life in one way or another because it has led me on the path to becoming the young woman I aspire to be. Without this village, I would not be as knowledgeable. Without this village, I would not be as vulnerable. Without this village, I would not be as ambitious. Without this village, I would not be me.
I hope that one day, if I am ever blessed enough to become a mother, a village will raise my child to teach him or her all the lessons that have been taught to me.