Having a community of helpful, loving, trustworthy people is so important--whether you live near your family or not, whether your parents work full-time or not, whether you live in the town where you were raised, or you live far, far away from anyone familiar.
Why? Tons of reasons:
- You need the example and encouragement of people who share your values
- Your kids need the same
- You need a sounding board outside of your own head on which to bounce ideas, impressions, goals and dreams (sometimes just a sanity check!)
- You need an extra pair of eyes or two on your children, to let you know if there are issues that you are blind to
- You need to constantly improve your store of common sense, which is in short supply these days
- In case of emergency, there must be people that can help you out with the logistics of survival
We moved about five times in our first 10 years of marriage, and the only time we lived near family in that first decade was during a 9-month sabbatical out of state. In places where we couldn't find the community we were looking for, we created one. For instance, while living in a 2-bedroom apartment on sabbatical I started a newsletter for moms and weekly story time in our housing complex. Later, when we couldn't afford Montessori schools for our children, I converted our basement into a schoolroom, invited over several families a few times per week, and paid a Directress to teach.
Some of the mistakes I see young parents making these days include not thinking ahead about these things when purchasing a house, for instance. That topic is ripe for a blog post in itself, but just to focus on schooling and homeschooling for a minute: if you have never homeschooled before or if you may have a child with special needs, re-think that house in the country. Because if homeschooling is a disaster, you need to have a back-up plan. Or if your child needs OT and PT and has sensory issues, make sure you can still access the care he or she needs. Better yet--make sure you are in a school district that can provide those services. Remember that even if you have no plans now to send your child to public school, you may change your mind later, or you might need to use their services without enrolling your child there.
When we are raising children--especially if we are taking the responsibility of schooling them ourselves--we have to think through all of those things. So please read the post by Jennifer Fulwiler and share with any young couples you know who may need it! Jennifer Fulwiler
Next time, maybe I'll write about the importance of children spending time with family and friends of another generation……...