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HOW THE COMMUNITY HELPS IN RAISING OUR CHILDREN?

‘It takes a village to raise a child.’

Human beings are naturally social beings. We are wired to want and need social interaction more often than not. As grownups, we are always on the lookout to fulfill our social needs and are luckily in positions to define our own social experiences. We can choose our communities, depending on the fulfillment of these social needs. Children, on the other hand, are not in a position to make these choices. They find themselves in these environments and have to adapt to their immediate environments. Just as our perceptions about life are shaped by our experiences and the stimulations from our primary backgrounds, so is their growing up shaped by the communities they find themselves in.

A community can be described as a social group of people sharing common values in religion, culture, moral values, identity, etc. Sometimes we find ourselves in specific communities, and other times, we build the communities we desire for ourselves. Religious institutions, an aspect of the community, help to impart spiritual and ethical values onto the children. This helps ground them in godly ways, assisting in the moral shaping of their behavior, character, and values. In religious institutions, perceptions of good and evil are taught as a foundation for understanding right and wrong. The social interactions with other children and adults play a significant role in the social life of a child.

Schools or learning institutions are other aspects of the community that significantly impact to the growing child. In today’s society, children spend almost equal time at their schools as they do at home—a clear indication of the school setting’s impact on the child. Schools are where particular identities are formed, such as career aspirations and their accompanying perceptions. It is here too that the concept of self-identity is shaped, the natural need to develop a uniqueness of self, i.e., an individual personality. This idea of self-identity is what helps in the growth and development of the child as an individual. It is also in the school that unique strengths and weaknesses are detected and the desire to achieve certain accomplishment levels developed.

School provides a platform and opportunity for numerous shared experiences that later on help to create lifelong friendships. This is where the school becomes the genesis for many other social groups. Apart from their peers, the teachers and other community members present in the school all play a role in the growing child’s life. In them, they see both good and bad examples of adulthood, how to build and maintain relationships, and the dynamics involved. The different personalities, races, religions, and cultures in the school environment teach children acceptance, appreciation, and respect for diverse settings.

            The neighborhood where a child grows up stamps its identity onto the child. The experiences cultivated within the community are a great way to affect the child’s character, both negatively and positively. The interaction amongst peers may later influence and shape a child’s interest in social activities such as sports and other group functions and career choices. However, if a child is raised in a crime-prone neighborhood, this can have a lasting negative effect on a child’s social interactions in school, work, and other social settings. So, indeed, the community helps in raising children. Therefore, it is essential that one carefully curates and chooses a suitable environment for not only themselves but also their children. The way a child turns out is not exclusively dependent on their parents’ upbringing, but on the environment in which they live and grow. The community is a great contributor to this environment.

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