The village people

My friend Honey posted a story about the need for supportive villages this morning and it provoked me to write this post that has been in my head for weeks.

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It takes a village, but there are no villages //⠀ ⠀ A while back I sent Honey a link to an article by Beth Berry @revolutionfromhome on the absence of the 'village' and the detrimental effect it has on all of us, women in particular. Beth was referring to small, multigenerational communities co-existing to share the joys, burdens and sorrows of everyday life, nurturing each other, helping to raise children and care for dependent elderly. She was talking about 'a way of life we are biologically wired for, but that is nearly impossible to find in developed nations.'⠀ ⠀ We've chatted about the absence of this ‘village’ many times in the past couple of years. And my family's recent week-long stay at Honey's property near Bega truly drove the concept home for both of us. ⠀ ⠀ Late one afternoon, we looked around and realised we were experiencing something a bit like what a 'village' might feel like …Honey was in the kitchen preparing our evening meal, I was supervising baths and showers of the three children, the guys were out back chopping firewood, and Leoni (Honey's mum) was at work in the vegetable garden. We were all, each of us, engaged in some activity that was of benefit to the whole group. THIS was what a village could look like, and it was a thing of beauty. ⠀ ⠀ It's had us talking about this concept even more this week – why has the village all but disappeared from our modern society? How do we get back to it? Are we all just too scared of the inevitable challenges and confrontations that would arise living in such close proximity to others? Are we too selfish and comfortable in our own ways to have to endure another family's quirks and annoying habits? ⠀ ⠀ Seriously, we'd love to know your thoughts on this. Perhaps you or someone you know lives in a 'village' type arrangement? ⠀ Karen + Honey xx ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #ittakesavillage #sustainableliving #consciousliving #multigenerationalliving #simplelife

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South Pacific Islanders get it really right when they call everyone aunty, uncle, sister and brother. I believe this term of endearment and respect strengthens the fabric of community and gives everyone a sense of belonging.

There are also village mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers.

Your role in the village has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with choice and participation.

I experienced the village mother phenomena when I was at home with newborn baby Joey. I had one friend who was the ultimate village mother. She brought me coffees and popped in for a quick hello. She crocheted blankets, beanies and cardigans, and oohed and aahed over him with genuine affection. This gentle kindness meant so much to me in those fragile early days, and brought me so much light in the midst of extreme vulnerability.

I also experienced the loving magic of village sisters and aunties during that time. The precious visits, advice and support (and cake!) meant an enormous amount, and granted me access to a hidden world of women’s wisdom.

When you treat the people like family, something changes. It brings you closer. It honours your role in each other’s lives and gives you a chance to step in.

The Spark and I are very blessed to have a beautiful family around us who love and support us, but we also have the most extraordinary village looking out for us.

Simply by behaving like family, you have become family.

So to everyone who has given Joey hand-me-downs and presents, or visited us and come to our parties, I think of you everyday when I look at those toys, and books and clothes. Our house is littered (and lit-up) by the thousands of kindnesses you have bestowed on us.

If you want to create a village, open yourself up to the people around you. Offer respect. Offer inclusion. Show interest and show up. Risk being extra kind.

And to all my biological and village sisters, aunties, mothers and grandmothers, thank you.

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