I am a beneficiary of the villages of people that aided in raising me from Charleston to Philadelphia. Having a village is not to discredit my family. The village is to note that my family meant that much to others that they would not allow me to fall between the cracks. Who were your village people? Do you even remember? They are the people that took their time out to make sure I had an extra layer of covering, culture, and guidance. Village people stand out when others stand back. Do you not know what a village person is or looks like? Well, look at this picture. They are the three people in the window and the five adults standing out front; while the children are playing. Yes, they are talking; however, they ensure the children are safe and getting along well. Letting the children get some fresh air and some social skills, you know, learning how to enter act with others. Let me stroll down memory lane to give you some of my village people.
Mr. and Mrs. Blanchard ( Charleston, SC) - "The candy lady" and her husband. I would go to their house, and she would teach me how to cook (I was in elementary school). She would teach me about counting money. She took me to ceramic and pottery classes. He would tell me what was going on in the news. Tell me about the war, and how to read the newspaper. We would talk about my grandmother going to church and how she was a praying woman.
Linda Smith ( Charleston, SC)- The only house I could spend the night over with her daughter( or we would go to her mother's house). She would take us to her part-time job after she got off of work at the hospital, to the YMCA to learn about African culture. We would do African dances and paintings. She would take us to the park and the battery. She would engage with us to get to know us better and help us communicate and articulate our words better with adults. She would also take me to church with them or send us if she had to work, but we were going to church.
Carol Williams ( Charleston, SC)- The first person to introduce me to crafting. Needlepoint and crocheting. A stickler for being classy and quiet, she taught me how to act in public. She would be the reason my mom would get me piano lessons. They had a piano in their home, and I showed interest in that more than the other things and told my mother. I loved going over there because they had a guest house, and I got the taste of quality living seeing those things they had. She was about education, so there was never a time I went over there that I didn't have to do some reading or educational project. She would also take me to church with her.
Bettie Williams Ferguson and Tyron Ferguson ( Philadelphia, PA) -I would be here like I lived there. I learned the importance of family gathering together and vacationing with your entire family. I would go to summer camp. Learn how to swim. I learned to be independent. I learned how to be a stern yet cool parent and the importance of the balance of both. I learned so much about music and fashion in this house. We would talk about what happened in church and if I prayed for them when I went. I learned how to take care of my son and gained the foundation of being stable for the rest of my life. I learned how to move and groove while building meaningful friendships/relationships.
Barbara Holloway and Dan Holloway ( Philadelphia, PA)- This would be where I learned how to survive. I remembered old-school values. Confidence. Forgiveness. Loyalty. Togetherness. I learned and understood how to run a business. I learned the importance of good work ethics. We would talk about God and the things her mother taught her. I watched how important you are to your children and how important your children are to you. I learned about what it takes to have a good marriage ( although I still haven't mastered that, Lord, I wished they were still alive to ask them a few more questions). I learned that some people in life would never leave you until death.
Now there are a few more I could mention; however, you get the point. Hopefully, it will remind you of those people in your life. Maybe it can create a desire within yourself to be one of these people to someone else. In many areas, they were doing the work of God, even if it was just loving me and being my angel.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.