Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman
The need to be part of a community is essential to humanity. We need friends, confidants, role models, peers to learn from, and people of varying ages to be part of our daily lives. Communities and villages are comprised of people from various walks of life who each add value and perspective to our existence. We learn from our elders, peers, and minors. As we consider forming our own villages to raise our children in, we want to think about including people from different walks of life, people’s whose values align with our own, people whom we aspire to replicate in some way, and people with whom we believe we can share something meaningful of ourselves. (I’ve also talked more about village building in this episode.)
I’ve taken this past month to think more intentionally about what my village currently looks like, painting the vision of what I want it to look like, and considering how I can continue to live into making my ultimate vision into a reality. I took the wide view here that in painting my dream, the sky is the limit, and that I need to get creative in manifesting what is most important to me. It has also been a reflective opportunity to realize what relationships I possibly need to either reset or let go of, which relationships I need to nurture more, and what types of people I am seeking from the larger community to enter into my little village.
As it stands, my current village looks roughly something like this:
Support from my father as needed in day-to-day tasks and child care.
Forest school and Quran memorization on Mondays, Math class on Tuesdays, Islamic Studies class on Wednesdays, English and Spanish classes on Thursdays, nature play date on Fridays, and weekend help from my mother every other weekend. *The Zoom classes with a friend have been a nice way to incorporate socialization into our daily lessons, and we have been blessed to have a family member lead the weekly Spanish class. It has also been a blessing to have created this village free of charge, which I realize is a privilege that not everyone can afford. And as someone whose immediate family is small (I am an only child myself), I do sometimes wish that I had more family to engage with in the process of village building, so I am truly grateful as I write this out to look at all the ways that our needs are being met by a variety of community members and to have summoned my creativity in cultivating this semblance of a village given the social distancing aspect in effect.
As I consider what I would like my village to look like in healthier times, it would look something like this: Forest school on Mondays, Spanish-speaking nanny share on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturday/Sunday morning help, Wednesday evening mother’s helper who is a responsible pre-teen or teen. It would also be nice to have regularly scheduled playdates with 3-5 other families, a family to vacation with, regularly scheduled gatherings with extended family (for example: Sunday dinners), weekly scheduled self-care activity, yearly family vacation, yearly vacation by myself to rejuvenate, and more investment into personal friendships that are not centered around my children. I believe that with some ingenuity and putting myself out there to meet new people, it is possible to maintain the beautiful village that I have created and have the full image of the village that I crave!
What does your current village look like? How would you like to expand that village to reflect even more of your ideals and vision? How have you adapted your village needs to practice safety during this trying time? Do you recognize which relationships need improvement in your village and what additional relationships you are seeking to add to your village? Take some time to really get into being intentional about the members of your community and have fun navigating the process of cultivating a beautiful village for yourself and your family!