Weekly Trip to the Library
Working as nannies and au pairs the readers of this blog already know they play an important role in helping raise happy, healthy, secure, and thriving children. This week I recommend caregivers read It Takes a Village because it further validates the importance of people outside the family unit play in cultivating children.
It Takes a Village was first published in 1996 (and a revised edition in 2006) by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Although Clinton is a former First Lady I am recommending this book for nannies to read not because of politics, but because of the message it offers to caregivers and parents. All nannies will feel validated by her message that for working parents, (and most American parents work), quality caregivers outside of the family are essential in raising their children.
In the book Clinton focuses on the impact individuals and groups outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child's well-being, and advocates a society which meets all of a child's needs.
Clinton understands the enormous lists of concerns working parents have from finding the right baby sitter, nanny, or daycare if their kids are sick. They worry how they will be able to afford to send their kids to college. They worry about a popular culture that glamorizes sex and violence, smoking and drinking, and teaches children that the logos on their clothes are more valued than the generosity in their hearts. They worry about drugs, alcohol, sex, and gangs.
But she also reminds us that there are dedicated teachers preparing their lessons for the new school year. There are volunteers tutoring and coaching children. There are doctors and nurses caring for sick children, police officers working to help kids stay out of trouble and off drugs.
Of course, parents are first and foremost responsible for their children. But, she strongly explains that we are all responsible for ensuring that children are raised in a nation that doesn't just talk about family values, but acts in ways that values families. She believes (just like nannies, au pairs, and parents do), that each child who comes into this world should feel special -- every boy and every girl.
And to raise a happy, healthy, and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes nannies, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders, it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us.
In 2006, Clinton wrote a new Introduction to the book reflecting on how the American village has changed since she first wrote the book. Things changed in those ten years including the use of the Internet and new research in early child development and education. In the more recent edition of the book she raises issues of increasing concern for security, the environment, and the national debt. She also discusses where we have made progress and where there is still work to be done.
It makes no difference if you consider yourself as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or don't vote at all. All nannies and parents can find value in It Takes a Village.
You can purchase your own copy by clicking a link above or below:
It Takes a Village, Tenth Anniversary Edition