It Takes a Village

Last week was a bit of a milestone week for me. With a six month old son who won’t take a bottle and has only recently started on solid food, I was to attend a three-day training course. It was one of these opportunities that I knew I had to take, but it was going to mean pulling in favours from all directions. Alan (my partner) didn’t have enough holidays to cover the full three days so we had to cast the net a bit wider for babysitters. I sent an email to immediate family and one very dear friend and within hours the days were covered. My parents would do the first day, Stella (my friend) the second, and Alan the third. I know that it was exciting for the grandparents and a family friend to finally get Findlay to themselves but it was still quite an undertaking, especially when he had to brought to me at least once a day for a feed.

"OK Gran, let's do this."

“OK Gran, let’s do this.”

I had such a palpable sense of my support network, and the loving community into which Findlay has been born. Though I have very much enjoyed the network around our little family, and appreciated it hugely in the first weeks, I have never needed to leave Fin for more than a couple of hours before. Once the ludicrously complicated plans were carved out, I felt such a feeling of wholeness, belonging, and gratitude. Findlay doesn’t need to solely depend upon us! There are people whom he will only get to know better, who love him and want to help raise him.

Selfie with Stella

Selfie with Stella

Despite a strong philosophy around interdependence, reciprocity, and mutual support, I am RUBBISH at putting that philosophy into practice. But now that my son’s wellbeing will be directly enhanced by my ability to say, “Help, please” or even, “Yes, please”, I hereby commit to get better at it.

Community brings friendship

Community brings friendship

On the second day of the training, Stella dropped Fin off with me at the end of the day. The course ran a bit later that day and so I brought Findlay into the circle and we sat on the floor, surrounded by a new community. The course was on the Art of Participatory Leadership – exploring a positive future for Scotland – led by some talented hosts from the Art of Hosting community of practice. Many people thanked me (THANKED me!) for bringing Fin along since he represents the generation for whom we wanted to create a hopeful future. He was not only accepted there, but welcomed and enjoyed.

"Am I meant to say something here?"

“Am I meant to say something here?”

I want to take the chance to say a heartfelt thank you to all those who helped me to take part in that course, but also for helping me raise my son – the most important job I could ever have.

On a totally separate topic, I want to give a quick update on the Ratho Community Meal. We hope that we will hold it in the local Community Centre and in order to host it, I am hopefully going to become a member of the Community Centre Council. The last couple of meetings of the council have had to be cancelled so there has been a delay in getting started but it will happen early in 2014! Thanks to everyone who has expressed an interest and shown support.



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2 responses to “It Takes a Village

  1. Sarah Forbes

    Great post Linda! I know from our own experience that trusting in the village is right, but it can be difficult in a culture that tells us that the best place for children is always with their mother. Thanks for your honesty. I draw strength from knowing that others struggle with it too.

    Also, you said “On a totally separate topic…” when referring to the Ratho Community Dinner? I think not! Building future ‘villages’ is what you’re trying to do – a village that might be THAT village for families just like yours! It seems your actions are following your intentions in a beautiful way. Keep on going!

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