I’ve been feeling like a lone ranger mom these days. It’s not for a lack of friendships, playdates, activities and the like, it’s just for the day to day work and toil of mothering little ones, I feel quite lonely – and worn out. My mind entertains quite frequently the thought of moving to an African village where I can rub shoulders with other women everyday, and bring up my children in a more communal type setting. There is an oft-quoted African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think you could add a second half to the saying, “…and a community to keep the parents sane.” I think modern American home life really lacks in this area.
Patrice Karst is the author of The Single Mother’s Survival Guide. She says, “All through history, women took care of children together. As a culture, we need to stop worshiping privacy and realize we’re tribal by nature.”
Biblical community is something I’ve been thinking alot about lately. Life is not meant to be lived or cultivated in solitude. I’m not sure why our society and our religion has evolved to where we do life primarily alone, and stay at home parenting is set up as something of a burden. We’ve become like silos. At least that’s how I feel.
I’ve been studying Acts this year, and the early believers gave us such a beautiful picture of what Biblical community looks like:
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Anyway, I’ve been praying for months and months about what to do. I considered starting a Good News Club since there is a school right behind our house, but after taking some steps to check it out, didn’t feel like it was the right fit. Finally, a few days ago I had a breakthrough and narrowed it down.
We love our neighborhood in midtown Oklahoma City – it’s busy, loud, diverse, colorful and full of wonderful people. We have Latin American neighbors right next door with three kids that we play with all the time. They teach us Spanish, we teach them English. The way we do life differently is so unique, and interesting. We know most of our neighbors that are closest to us, but I want to branch out and get to know other families that are on my block. When we moved here, I had this vision of our home being an open place for anyone to come and be loved, served, and cared for. I want neighbor kids running around playing, I want my kitchen to be stocked with food so I can make meals for people who stop by.
So it feels a little scary, but I’m making step towards this vision, because I know it just won’t happen by itself. I’m starting a big community playdate once a week at my home. Since the weather has warmed up, it’s perfect timing. I’m envisioning blankets laid across my back lawn with books, toys, games. We will have snacks, sing songs, let the children play and the parents/caregivers get to know each other, and hopefully build a community of people that we can know and serve.
I’m blogging about this because I want to know your thoughts – especially those of you who stay at home with young kids. Do you feel a strong need for community like this? What would it look like for you to pursue it? I look forward to sharing more with you soon…my first one is next Tuesday! I’ve already printed the flyers, so there is no turning back now. :)