JEFF MAY, Motivational Speaker - "If you want different, do different; You're the change!"
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Who Needs A Village?

Does it still take a village to raise a child?  Is the Village still useful in 2010?  Share your opinions.
This African Proverb has been so frequently used in our culture, that it has in some way been cemented and implanted in our frame of thought.
The dictionary defines viable as: sufficiently developed to be able to survive after birth (Fetus); to be able to live or grow (Plants); able to exist successfully. (Validity)
In combining what we have known and heard of this proverb, together with what we now understand of being viable, one could conclude that the question before all of us today is:
“Is Our Village Still Successful in DevelopingGrowth that Survives and Endures?”
In regards to development, those who are familiar with fetal development understand that it begins with fertilization and continues until delivery.  When the fetus has matured and birth is imminent the body begins to go through a series of movements and shifts that help navigate it though the life canal. 
Again, those well-versed in these matters might refer to this process or study as Embryology.
In the case of those young villagers who are journeying though the canal of life, there is still a need for villagers to help guide those who are maturing and realize that their destiny is imminent, through the necessary movements and shifts that all undergo on their way to greatness.
Embryology also tells us that the embryo or unborn child itself is vulnerable to toxic exposures like: Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking, Infections,      Radiation, Nutritional and Deficiencies.
In the same manner, the development of our young is being affected and hindered by very unforgiving and toxic exposures such as: Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking, Infections/Diseases, Radiation/Pollution, Nutritional/Educational and Deficiencies.
Our next issue, growth, is determined by environmental factors as well.  In Plant-life we discover that factors such as:
Temperature           Available Water      Available Light         Available Nutrients
Any change in these external conditions will be reflected in the plant’s growth.
Does our village supply the needed consistency of crucial factors that promote the growth of its up and coming villagers?
We must ask ourselves as the village: Is there a great supply of Love, Support, Spirituality, Diversity, Self-Dignity, Personal, Responsibility, Personal Attention, Tough Love,    Funding, Intentional Programming, Mentoring, Job Placement, Retention Services, Better Housing or simply just someone to listen.
Some (plants), however, have shown that they can be more resilient than others.  Some evergreens, for example, have shown that they can survive in the most severe environments.
There are some Villagers who have not allowed their circumstances or environment to dictate their Destinies!    
They have not allowed generational curses to sentence them to suffer and endure the same painful and shameful past as those who may have come before them.
Instead they have stood strong as survivors and they deserve our utmost respect and support.
The Village is yet viable because it is still producing the very best that God is continuing to bless this world to have.
It is Viable because you survived….you made it….you’re still striving and enduring to the end.
Biblically, it is said that the race is not given to the swift, nor to the strong, but to them that continues to endure to the end.
But it did not say that while they endured, they did so without help, or assistance, or adequate resources, or understanding and it did not say they would endure alone.
Today I challenge you as a village to ensure that after these young villagers have been developed, after they have grown and matured, after they have stood and been proved to be survivors, that they endure the race in front of them with your love and support.
Now is the time to reach back and help those who are helping themselves to endure this race.
Behind every success, there was a successful village!
We have not come this far alone and neither will the next generation.
I believe Marian Wright Edelman said it best…….
“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can’t afford not to.”

1 Comment to Who Needs A Village?:

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Mellisa May on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 10:04 PM
I attended the Breakfast with Alliance for Excellence at Virginia Western Community College and heard you present on this topic. You gave an excellent speech!
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