It still takes a village, a much smaller village.

When it comes to family, Africa has always been known for it’s “it takes a village” approach of raising children as well as maintaining a home structure. This creates a situation where everyone i.e. extended family members, neighbors, street vendors etc. all have a stake at the success and failure of every household. Children grow up with countless related and unrelated mommies, daddies, aunts, uncles, and grandparents not to mention an even larger group of siblings and cousins -of varying ages- all with the goal of nurturing the child to the best of their ability.

While this is a truly beautiful cultural and social practice, which has undoubtedly led to one of the strongest familiar systems in the world. A never talked about detail of this practice is the freedom it allocated parents and the attention/ involvement that every child brought up within these structures received.  Neither is how that attention and hands-on approach played in creating full and well-rounded adults at the center of conversations. Unfortunately, as these systems become rarer and rarer due to urbanization, the influence of western/ outside cultural practices, and to add gas to the fire, a generational gap never before seen or witnessed in human history; these elements can no longer go unaddressed. Rather, sneakily, they are now important determining factors for how the continent with the youngest population (60% of Africa is under 25) will favor in the coming decades.

The deterioration of traditional family structures and popularization of smaller nuclear families with two career-driven working parents has restructured the dynamics of raising a family in Africa and many parts of the world too. Unfortunately, as parents continue to practice ancient/traditional methods of parenting (mentally) and fail to acknowledge the effects of their life choices and the shift in societal norms youths are often left in a very sticky situation. A common scenario all over the continent is of parents whose sole purpose is to provide and nothing more. Friendship, spending quality time and understanding the psychology(soul) of the child; which were roles played by non-parent family members; is luxury guardians can’t afford in modern times. So long as the child plays the role the parents see fit everything else is inconsequential. Hence, children are pushed to look for the attention and care they lack elsewhere. Most children learn this reality very early on, perfecting playing their role to the T often before their teen years.
bedtimeblabber_benefits of large families
Many youths today find themselves affected physically, socially, behaviorally, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually and or cognitively because of parental nonchalance (or inability to take-up all the weight that an extended/large family carried). This often manifests as repetitive cycles of self-harm, toxic social behavior, narcotics abuse, promiscuity etc. in the child. As fathers continue to restrict themselves to strict socially approved gender roles; mother’s becoming more professionally oriented; generational and communication gap increase; the destruction of traditional family structures so on and so forth ensures a culture where the youth are exposed and predisposed to the vices that exist in our societies. Thereby, forcing them to fend for themselves in a world that is too cruel to anyone who isn’t prepared for it.  While parents, in general, can’t be singled out for their offspring’s unfortunate circumstance and wrong choices, it is crucial for (future) parents to recognize the contribution their unawareness adds to the current social, cultural, and moral downfall that is occurring within youths.

Understandably, it is near impossible for traditional family structures to make a comeback as the norm parenting style, however, creating communities that are invested in the outcome of each and every child cannot be stressed enough. These types of multi-generational structures have profound impacts on the type of adults we create. They can shape and provide tools that better enable the growing generation to maneuver through life successfully, which is something most millennials and gen-z's lack. This is why a lot of today's youth find themselves walking through life aimlessly, and overwhelmed by the enormous responsibility that is 'living' (in itself) especially in this generation.

So, how does one find/create these communities with the same intention as our archaic African families??? By getting adults/parents to come together setting aside race, creed, gender, religion etc. and join heads, skills, and vision with the definite objective of loving, caring, and nurturing every child equally. Hence, creating a generation strong enough to stand on its own two feet and collectively.

Well that's it folks, hope you enjoyed the post. And don't forget to be generous with your comments, likes, and shares. Tell me about your upbring and what your family dynamics is/was. Which do you prefer big families or small ones? Till next time, blabbers. Kisses.


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