Exploring some adages and attitudes…

A popular adage once frequently heard in today’s ever increasing free society is, “It takes a Village to raise a child.” Like any other, however, this theory has been and continues to be questioned and even debated. Some contend that it only takes two good parents to do so. This certainly would be the ideal situation but even the dichotomy of “good parents” has drastically changed in recent decades.

When you listen to the “old folk’s tales” of some senior citizens you will hear many speak of how neighbors, teachers and others acted as surrogate parents exercising full rights to punish bad behavior before reporting it to the parents–who, in turn would repeat the physical punishment–all outlawed in today’s modern, far more undisciplined society.

I’m firmly convinced that history will support the theory that in small villages, townships and more rural areas it has generally taken the village to raise the child. How much less could such theory be needed in today’s selfish, egotistical insensitive environments and mechanized business world? No matter how good the parental upbringing, it takes a mighty strong child to pass unscathed through today’s abundance of easily accessible vices, lures and negative influences. There may also be extenuating circumstances that would prevent the parent(s) from providing the necessary strong spiritual and moral guidance by example so vital in the teaching process.

From the increasing promiscuity of prime time television and the freedom of social media, it is quite obvious that you cannot legislate morality, spirituality and especially not love. Therefore, more than ever, it takes an ever-widening village to raise the children of today for whom, within this unique Roanoke Valley, there can be found an ample supply of villages through sororities, fraternities, churches, neighborhood groups, etc. We would do well to participate, invest and engage more fully in such organizations.

An equally familiar adage, based on Biblical reference, was brought to the forefront with former President Obama’s unveiling of his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, designed to help young men and boys (of color in particular) to succeed. This reference is also habitually used in the context of altruism, but there are those of us who still find it more condescending. To be “a keeper” someone (or something) has to be kept–as zoo keepers, bee keepers, etc. This would hardly create a situation of honor or mutual respect under humane circumstances. The person in the condition to be kept is, in all probability, humiliated enough by such situation. Therefore the more respectful approach and loving sentiment would certainly seem not to be “my brother’s keeper,” but my brother’s brother!” It all depends on “from whose perspective?” But from perspective come attitudes and from bad attitudes inevitably come dissention and subsequent division. What a fiasco we find ourselves in, from personal to international status, when we continue to pride ourselves in becoming (or being) “Our brother’s “keeper,” instead of “our brother’s brother! – (whether on personal, national or international basis.) Need we keep reminding you, in mankind’s continuous scientific and technological maturation: “This world has indeed become too small for anything but brotherhood; and far too dangerous for anything but peace!”

“O Friends” (and rulers of the world), we are admonished in the Baha’i Scriptures for this new era: “Quench ye the lamp of continuous error, and kindle within your hearts the everlasting torch of Divine Love and Guidance!…” as provided through each Manifestation of the One God (by Whatever Name!) applicable to the exigencies of each respective era! (Investigate!) -1-800-22-UNITE.