I’ve been thinking this week how many people it actually takes to raise a child. Sure, technically it’s one – one person can quite easily feed a child, put it to bed, buy provisions for it, read to it, love it etc. But in reality when you think about it, even in cases where there’s only one parent on the scene, children are very rarely influenced solely by one primary caregiver. When I think back over the people who’ve affected my life, it’s not just my parents but also grandparents, teachers, parents’ friends etc. I’m sure my younger sister would say I had a hand in raising her.
There are so many different things you can teach a child, and each person who comes into contact with them has their own knowledge base and strengths and weaknesses, that surely it could be said pretty much everyone who has anything to do with them in their formative years is going to pass on some information and have a hand in raising them, even in a very small way?
If you think about it, it could be said even your friends helped to raise you. In the early days, maybe a child at nursery knew more words than you or was more advanced than you in certain areas and thus would have passed on their skills (unknowingly) through playing together. As you got older, trials and tribulations with peers would have taught you many life lessons that your parents, whilst they probably tried telling you verbally, wouldn’t have been able to practically demonstrate.
It feels like we have a very insular society compared to others across the world – when you look at certain tribes they do everything together and really do raise their children communally (and isn’t that where the phrase ‘it takes a whole village to raise a baby’ came from?) – but really we still have an important role to play in helping develop the youngest generation. It’s exciting when you think about it – not only are Dylan and I going to get to pass on our wisdom (!), our passions and the lessons we’ve learned along the way, but our friends and families will also have a hand in teaching our baby such valuable things.
Harriet and bump x