By: CJ Ramsaran

There is an old African saying which originated from the Nigerian Igbo culture and proverb “Ora na azu nwa” which means it takes the community/village to raise a child. 

In essence, a child may have the essential necessities of food, water, clothing, and shelter; they may also have human compassion and comfort provided by parents, siblings, and other family members.  Yet despite all the essentials and comforts of life, a child may still go astray.  The likelihood more prevalent without guidance and care from a strong and unified community.

When parents aren’t around, who watches over our children?  Who sees and guides their every step?  Who instills the values needed for their survival?  Who campaigns and ensures a solid foundation is laid for their success?

At some point in time we stopped being the “village” that raises our children.  Often we’re too scared by the labels placed on us by society, so we turn a blind eye to our surroundings.  We see, yet we are blind; and we hear, yet we are deaf.

When was the last time you stopped to get to know your neighbours…. and I don’t mean the” lady next door” or the “old man down the street.”  I mean STOP and take the time to really get to know your neighbours.  Do you know their names?  Do you know their children’s names? 

When the neighbourhood kids are playing street hockey, often oblivious to their surroundings – if a car was speeding towards them without their knowledge, would you be able to call them by name to alert them of the oncoming danger?  In more instances than not, we are clueless!

Similarly, how do you expect a child to know right from wrong if you don’t take the time to teach them or to correct them when they say or do something that’s offensive in some way?  Don’t think of your intervention as an interference… your input can and just may save or better a child’s life.

Stop being afraid of finger-pointing and criticism.  When you are teaching a child right from wrong, and you mean them no harm or ill-intention, this should not automatically label you as a psychopath or predator. 

It is such a pity that in today’s world no one wants to interfere or look beyond the status quo, and this is where we are blatantly wrong!

We stopped being a community; we stopped being a village; we simply stopped caring…. but, not anymore!

It’s time for us to take a stance and resort to a simpler way of living.  We need to be more concerned with doing good than being reprimanded for it.  It’s time for us to become a village and start raising our children together, all over again!