When The Village Speaks…
Greatness Has No Choice But To Come Forth
I’m So Glad The Village Isn’t Silent…
When The Village Speaks.. Greatness Has No Choice But To Come Forth…I must admit that at a young age I had no clue what a village was, or the impact it would have on my life. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that I was fortunate to grow up with a DOPE village. A village that was filled with neighbors, aunts, uncles, teachers and the best church family ever. I was raised by a DOPE village that included Ms. Elaine Singley, who peeped her head out the window each day around 3:20 PM expecting to see me walk down the block. Ms. Elaine would throw our door key out of the second-floor window each day so I could catch it and open our house door. I was not allowed to have a key yet, but I arrived home before my mom, Loney or my Gram were off work, therefore Ms. Elaine was more than our neighbor she was a part of the village. This is just what the village did when you were a latch-key kid J.
I was raised by a DOPE village that consisted of Gloria Hilliard, who made sure that every school birthday party for me was epic and that I had representation at every school event cheering me on from the side line, even when my mother couldn’t make it to the event due to her work schedule. This is just what the village did when your mother wanted to be there, but just couldn’t because she was trying to provide for you and keep the tuition paid in the Catholic school you attended.
I was raised by a DOPE village that consisted of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church’s Scholarship Committee and particularly Monique Byrd who filled out my college financial aid forms. This is just what the village did for me, considering I grew up in a family that had never had to fill out these daunting forms and needed assistance with the process. I could go on and on and on about the DOPE village that raised me, but this blog is not necessarily about me, it’s about my gratitude for the DOPEST VILLAGE ever that is helping Alphonso and I raise our two children.
“It takes a village to raise a child” is an Igbo and Yoruba proverb that exists in many different African languages. It reflects the emphasis African cultures place on family and community. This proverb suggests that it takes more than a parent to raise a child. It suggests that it not only takes an entire community to raise a child, but it also makes clear that our children are the responsibility of the entire community.
June 12, 2019 was a surreal experience for Alphonso and I, as we witnessed our first-born child, Alphonso Evans Jr. (AJ) accept award after award, during his 8thgrade graduation ceremony. Our son can be lazy at times but overall, he has worked very hard to maintain his first honors status for the last 9 years since entering Kindergarten. AJ strives to always demonstrate good character and he is the most charismatic person I know. Therefore, though I am extremely proud each time he receives an award, I must admit that at this point in his journey, it is just the expectation in our home, and he understands that academic excellence is just his reasonable service J
I do not take for granted his hard work and his achievements but the surreal moment that occurred for me yesterday, was less about AJ’s achievements and more about how loud the background noise became. Sometimes we tend to tune out background noise, but for some reason yesterday the background noise was all I could hear. I sat in absolute awe as I watched AJ light up and walk up each time his name was called. But though my eyes were fixed on him, my ears were in tune with all of the voices behind and beside us. Last night I just couldn’t shake the background noise. Even with my eyes looking straight ahead at the stage and fixed on our son the whole time I still couldn’t help but hear the background noise.
- The Background Noise of Reggie saying “Go AJ”
- The Background Noise of Russell saying “that’s right get everything, EVERYTHING”
- The Background Noise of Ms. Francine saying “I am Family”
- The Background Noise of Steve saying “I’m so proud of my nephew”
- The Background Noise of Alphonso Sr. saying “That’s right son, let’s rack em’ up, keep racking em’ up”
- The Background Noise of Felicia yelling for her “Stinky”
- The Background Noise of Bryan and Steve cheering and lifting their fans
The claps, chants and overall love was almost deafening last night. For a little over an hour I could do nothing but whisper prayers and thanks to God for the VILLAGE. The village that has poured nothing but love and encouragement into our son since birth, the village that picks him up when Alphonso and I can’t get there quick enough, the village that never misses an important moment in his life, the village that takes him out of the country just to open doors of opportunity for him, the village that texts and calls him just to encourage him, the village that keeps him grounded, the village that cheers him on no matter how small or how large the accomplishment, and the village that most of all lifts him in pray and covers him with love.
So, to our children’s Village we say, thank you. There are not words to express how grateful we are for your love and support. I am in awe when I think about the blessing of the village. Yes, I had a village when I grew up, but I don’t take for granted that there is no comparison to the Village our children have today and for that I am grateful. Alphonso and I are who we are because of the Village and I am so Godly glad that our children are becoming who they are because of the village. All children may be born with inherent greatness, but it takes a DOPE VILLAGE to cultivate that greatness. The VILLAGE has the power to transform a child’s life into a life of Impact and significance. Because the VILLAGE is not silent in the lives of our children, the greatness within them has no choice but to come out… That’s what happens when the VILLAGE speaks!
There is no question in my mind that the important task we as Black families face to preserve our legacy of greatness is directly connected to the VILLAGE… The strength and structure of our families is crucial in meeting the social and economic needs of today. What I have learned over time is the fact that a family culture will be established one way or another. Either we are intentional about creating culture in our families or the culture will create itself. The question becomes are we willing to take the chance on a culture creating itself or are we ready to be intentional about ensuring we protect and promote the VILLAGE? The VILLAGE MATTERS!