Tuesday, August 10, 2010
It really does take a village to raise a child. No matter how dedicated we parents may be, we need support, we need relief, we need the intimacy that comes from sharing within a family. While having a respite and allowing a spouse, friend, parent or grandparent to watch a child for a time is important, what I'm talking about is the deeper contribution to the creation of this child's upbringing, just by being an integral part of his life. I was told the other day that much of how a kid turns out comes from the community he is raised in, not just the interaction he receives from his parents, (not to minimize the huge role that is in a child's life).
If a child is raised in a family that is happy, accepting, affectionate and dedicated to the child's well-being, what a difference that can make to his self-esteem and confidence. This love, acceptance and bonding can begin at birth, and it can begin with the public acknowledgment of that child's birth at a Baby Blessing/Naming Ceremony. Having a ceremony to honor a new baby is an ancient tradition with specific rituals being practiced in every culture. The premise is basically the same: honoring the parents who have taken on a new role in life as parents (even if they are 2nd,3rd, etc-time parents, it's still a new role), honoring of the grandparents in their new role, introduction of the new babe to it's 'Community' and asking that the community vow to do their part in raising this child, forming this child, mentoring this child to be the best he can be.
Such a ceremony cements the family, gives the parents confidence knowing they have the backing of their greater family, trusting they will hold their child's needs in mind. In our more modern times where "tribes" do not necessarily live in the same town or even state any longer, how precious to have such a ceremony to bring the members together, if only symbolically and say - We are Family; This is My Tribe".
I love keeping this ancient tradition alive, setting aside the time to gather round, share wisdom, honor the name given to the child and the significance thereof, and to confirm to the little one that he indeed has roots and soil in which to grow.