PUBLISHED MONTHLY
EST. May 2000 (AD)

 
 

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Who Are the People in Your Village?

By Julie Ward
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We all know the expression "It takes a village to raise a child." Many of us are lucky enough to have an extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents and close friends to help us raise, nurture and transmit our values to our children. But have you thought of inviting a new villager into your life, to give you a fresh perspective on common child-rearing problems? As the stories below illustrate, helpful villagers come from all walks of life.

Problem Child: The Potty Mouth

Carol S.'s second grader came home and said his best friends were no longer allowed to play with him because of his liberal use of swear words.

"My first reaction," she recalls, "was, ‘Those kids can just go *$#@!* themselves. And so can their parents.' You know what I mean?"

Once she had calmed down, Carol was ready to tackle the job of helping her son make new friends.

"I knew that finding another group of little tattletales who can't wait to run home and tell mommy everything, even the obscenities, would be setting Johnny up for failure," Carol says. "You know what I mean?"

So she looked for a navy office nearby, or another place where sailors might hang out. Finding none and cursing her rotten luck, Carol took Johnny to the local truck stop.

"Truck stops are great," she says. "A lot of them have video arcades, and a lot of the truckers are hard core gamers. It's really nice when the kids and the truckers have something in common besides swearing. You know what I mean?"

Helpful Villager: The truckers and sailors (if you can find them) in your village can help The Potty Mouth feel less lonely.

Problem Child: The Bully

Most schools provide valuable support services to children who are bullied. It is not so easy to find help for the bully. Noted child-rearing expert/hypnotherapist Lucinda Maxwell would like to see that change. She offers a much-needed service to the bullies and parents in her community.

"Many people think bullies are aggressive and unafraid," she explains, "but bullies are the most fearful children you will ever meet. And what they fear most is change."

She offers parents this guided meditation to help their bully cope with the fear of things changing:



Imagine yourself all grown up. You are sitting at a big desk, in a corner office. You are happy. You are yelling at an unproductive worker. He trembles when you call him a useless fool. Oh look—here comes your assistant, with a latté for you. Look at your assistant while you yell at the unproductive worker. Both of them look really scared. You trip your assistant as he walks away from your desk. You've been tripping losers like him since elementary school.


Helpful Villager: The hypnotherapist in your village can prepare The Bully for a successful future in which things will stay pretty much the same.

Problem Child: The Little Spy

We all know that children can be traumatized when they see things they're not prepared for, from mom and dad engaging in sex, to the family tabby killing a bird, to leg warmers—in any decade, in any yarn, by any name. But there are some children who actually seek out the things we try to hide from them. These are the little spies.

The little spy is the neighborhood kid who comes over to play, then sneaks upstairs and goes through your drawers while your own children coo over Romper Room and drink grape juice. The little spy smirks at you from behind the azaleas when the mail carrier comes to the back door with a "special delivery."

Is there anything the little spy does not want to see? In the 1950s, the
existentialist/nutritionist/beat poet Crane Garibaldi stumbled upon the answer during a reading to an advanced meat safety class at the Sorbonne:

"Do maggots exist
under
a piece of rotten meat
If a s t r u n g o u t junkie
in a Left Bank whorehouse
doesn't turn it over and look
before
eating
it?

Maggots.

Milky writhing flesh-eating...wait a second...that's just what I need to scare those nosy French kids away from my naked Miles Davis pictures!"

Garibaldi's initial experiment with maggot-covered meat, naughty photos and French children from the working class was repeated in Europe, Japan and North America with uniform results. Follow up studies were conducted as well. In every case, the little spy was still minding his or her own business twenty years later.

Helpful Villager:
The negligent food handler in your village can help you turn The Little Spy into a curiosity-free angel—and a vegetarian!

Three problem children, three solutions—no doubt there are countless other people in your village who can help you raise a better child.

©2005 Julie Ward

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OTHER HW ARTICLES BY JULIE WARD

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Ward is the manager of communications for InduSoft LLC. She lives with her husband and two sons in Austin, Texas.