By Deanna Flores, Los Dichos Program Coordinator
You often hear the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” However, as Clay Roberts, well known assets speaker has stated, “no one ever says what that village should look like.” So now that the new school year is well under way, take time to define your village for both you and your children.
As asset builders, we know that one of the asset categories is Support – and there are six support assets within this category. Focusing on these assets is a great way to begin to define your village or “web of support”:
1. Family support
2. Positive family communication
3. Other adult relationships
4. Caring neighborhood
5. Caring school climate
6. Parent involvement in schooling
Remember the more supported our children and youth feel – the better they will be!
A few ideas to get you started:
• If you are at a new school –take time to get to know your child’s teacher or teachers. Help promote this process by taking time with your child to share with their teachers after school. It may be as quick as dropping off a donation of tissue and saying “hi!” – to spending a few minutes more to express how much you enjoyed seeing your child working on a project for their class.
• If you are at a new school — get to know the office staff and introduce yourself to them while your child is with you. If you are more comfortable with them, the greater the likelihood your children will be more comfortable with them as well. If you are returning to your school – take time to say “Hi!” and “Welcome Back” to office staff or even better take time to say “Thank you for their continued support.”
• As you get to know more moms or dads at your school, be sure to introduce them to your children. Your village or web of support can become their village and web of support if you share it.
• While in the car ask them, “Who loves you?” Let them go through the list. Maybe they say “Grandma and Grandpa” and then you reply “What about your cousins or your aunts and uncles?” Grow the list together so that they realize they have a lot of people who love and care about them.
• Ask them who made them smile at school today. Do this on a regular basis to get to know who their new friends might be.
• Take time to listen as your children share stories about people in their school day and be sure to get to know these people. If your children are in middle school or high school, listening is especially important. They are now teens and can have in-depth conversations about many things and share many things if we take the time to listen and connect. This will give insight to their village so that you can make it part of your village.
The goal is to build a strong village or web of support for the whole family to experience and thrive in. It feels good to know others care and are there for you!
Asset building is simple; we just need to intentionally make time to do it.
Take a second. Make a difference!