by Ms Margie

I grew up in a small town called Dos Palos. Everyone knew everybody there and that’s where I learned it takes a village to raise a child. Back then, neighbors knew their neighbors and the community came together (it still does). You addressed your elders as Mr. or Mrs., minded your manners and respected yourself and others. Their houses became your home and the welcome mat was out. People took the time to say hello, share a smile, ask how you were and wait for an answer.

I found that there wasn’t much I could do without my parents finding out because the village was always looking out. It wasn’t out of malice or spite, it was out of genuine concern. My mom always said, “whatever you do in the dark will always come to light.” I truly believe this came from Dos Palos’ village mentality. It made me think twice about the things I chose to get into. The foundation that developed and the friends and families that were made remain today.

I have since moved to a place called Merced. I brought the memories and my own village mentality with me. I never meet a stranger and always share a smile and a kind word.

As a product of the “it takes a village” generation, I knew how grateful my parents were for the various people who were a part of our lives and how big of an asset they were. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I realized the magnitude of having a village that loved you, cared for you and looked out for you as if they were family. As a parent, it is comforting to know that so many others have my family’s best interest in mind and that my children are aware that they are being watched by a village that wants nothing but the best for them.

It didn’t keep my children from getting into things just like it didn’t stop me but it created a consciousness and a reminder to maintain a certain level of respect because you know that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

I see my village as a protective barrier that shelters me from the storms, embraces me when I need embracing the most, and a constant reminder that we are our brother’s keeper. I look out for them and they look out for me. It is a blessing. The difference it makes in my life is immeasurable and priceless.

Life has shown me that it takes a village to raise a child and I’m glad it did. My children and I are better people because of it.


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