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You’ve probably heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. Parenting is so difficult, so complex, so relentless, that it is more than any two people can successfully handle. Children thrive under the responsibility of loving parents but also under the watchful eye of a caring community. I have always believed in the wisdom of this proverb, but I’ve come to appreciate it even more as my kids grow older. And as I’ve come to appreciate it more, I think I’ve come to appreciate it better.
When I was starting out in parenting, I assumed this proverb, whose roots are in Africa, meant something like this: I will raise my children and expect the community around me—especially the Christian community—to keep an eye on them. If they go wild or get out-of-line or go sneaking off somewhere, I give those people free reign to let me know or to intervene directly. It may even fall to them to give my kids a stern talking to. I saw this kind of thing modeled in the community I grew up in. More than once I saw adults get involved when other people’s kids were getting out of control. Well and good, as...
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