October 6, 2023
“Once upon a time, there was a ‘billage,'” begins my two year old in a dramatic voice. After this she launches into a random story, but this same phrase about a village starts every book she “reads” to us or to her dolls.
I think she’s on to something.
We’re all drawn to the idea of a village. We long for it. “It takes a village!” we say even though we’re trudging through parenthood mostly alone.
The idea of life in community is so far from common American lifestyle now that it feels unattainable. I want to be alongside others. I want to do life together. But everyone is so busy that at best I can grab an hour with a friend every few months. At worst it feels intrusive to even ask to get together.
Is finding consistent community a lost cause? I hope not.
When I think about the concept of village, it calls up an image of households side by side in the mundane tasks. Of course, the modern world makes that so unnecessary. Attempts at household tasks with another person outside of our household feel awkward because we’ve been doing everything independently our whole lives.
I haven’t made many friends with the line, “Hey, can I bring my laundry over and we can chat while we fold?” To feel comfortable enough to ask that, we would need lots of hours logged together in our friendship. Hours we haven’t had because we’re busy. Round and round it goes.
Fitting friendship in on top of our busy schedules hasn’t worked. Mundane household tasks together feels weird. Are we doomed to keep feeling alone?
I think there’s still a way to create a village, even in America in the 21st century. Instead of working around our busy schedules we can work community into them.
My solution for a village comes from a surprising place. Remote work and homeschooling may initially seem more isolating than their alternatives. But if done rightly, could these be a way to invite more community into your life?
Homeschooling or doing remote work among friends fits the image of village to me. I’m not adding another thing to my schedule; instead I’m putting community into what I already need to accomplish (in this case, work or teaching my kids).
The families that homeschool together at Family Work Space are experiencing the start of a village. We’re homeschooling together now. Who knows? Maybe next thing you know we’ll be folding laundry together.
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