I really, really believe in the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. Super believe, as Dana would say. I can’t do any of it without help–not raise my kids, tend my marriage or grow my faith. I need help! All the time!
It occurred to me this weekend, as I was reading the hopefully fake story of the Mean Lady in Fargo who was going to hand out shaming letters instead of candy to roly-poly princesses and Pokemons on Halloween, that maybe we need to be more specific in what we mean by village. After all, that lady said in her letter that she was just doing her job as a member of the village.
So here it is: it takes a village, yes. But not Salem village.
In Salem, people parading as good, decent folk used the accusation of witchcraft to punish their neighbors, and make themselves look better. Classic case of deflection: If everyone’s looking at the poor drunk woman in town, no one will notice that I am greedy and mean, even though I sit in the first pew every Sunday and paid for half the church to be built. Nineteen innocent men and women were hanged.
It’s true the devil was afoot in Salem; also that they hung the wrong folks. I wonder what the Mean Lady in Fargo is trying to deflect? Anyone in my village should make me feel better and supported as a mom, not worse and like a failure.
I want Walnut Grove, where Reverend Alden was gentle with his flock and the truth always won. They had their issues there in the Grove, but the issues were always settled with everyone’s dignity intact. Even Nellie’s.
Or how about Avonlea? Anne of Green Gables seemed happy there. Or Concord, MA, where Little Women learned their life lessons. Yes, these are fictional and idyllic. But admirably fictional and idyllic.
In my village, I need god-fearing folk who will live and speak what they believe so that my kids are steeped in the love of God. I need to know that on the day I can’t read that freakin’ Dora book one more time, someone else will do it for me. And if a friendly villager knocks on my door before the 4 pm clean-up, they will judge me by the smile on my face and not the toys on the floor. Or at least believe my story about the 4 pm clean-up.
The neighbors who brought our puppy back when we left her outside? The mom who gently let me know there was more to the story than ours sons were telling us? The friend who reads the Dora book one more time? The couple who offer to watch our kids so we can have a date? Those are my Village People. We have God and we have love and we have each other.
And Mean Lady in Fargo needs to remember that. I have a whole entire village. If my kids ever get a fat letter in their trick or treat bag, we’re going to come for you and love you right out of town.
We know the devil when we see him and we’re not having that Here.