It takes a village to raise a family

Published 7:44 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Editorial by Chris Kovatch

Raising a child is no simple task. Add siblings to that equation and it becomes exponentially harder. This is something that no one should have to do alone. We receive support in raising our children from many places. Our family members play a vital role in our kids’ growth and their teachers aid a great deal in their development as well. Our church family also gives invaluable support in the nurturing of our children.

I have shared in prior articles about my desire to be a dad. I knew from the first time that I met my wife, Christi, when we were 17 years old that she was who I was going to marry. That concept really stumps some people. I always tell people I just knew she was the one. You really can’t explain that feeling. When we got engaged at 19, there were plenty of comments about our age and waiting, but if you know me, when I make up my mind there isn’t any changing it. We were married after we both turned 20. With all the mistakes that couples make when they are first married, we did make one really good decision. We decided to wait to have kids until I had wrapped up my bachelors degree. Just 3.5 years after graduating from WO-S, I was walking across the stage and receiving my diploma from Lamar University.

The reason I share this backstory is to point out that from day one, Christi and I were in this together. It takes a team and a committed one at that to emerge successful from child rearing duties somewhat unscathed.

A perfect scenario would have every family with two ever-present parents that are successfully modeling balancing careers with child rearing, or perhaps even with one of them in a stay at home parent role. While the traditional family model has numerous merits, it is vitally important that we realize that there are many other shapes and sizes of family units.

I always think of success with raising my children as having them grow into productive adults who, through their development, sidestep some of the mistakes I made growing up. I want to see them in a better place than I was in their age. I want them to make a name for themselves. I want, when someone hears or sees their last name, to equate it with them being a kind, trustworthy, and all-around good person. I would think most people would define successful child rearing similarly.

There are going to be families who look different than us; who are put together differently; and who have experienced different things. In the end, none of these things matter. What matters is setting a child up for success; ensuring they have every opportunity afforded to them to be a productive member of society. We have to realize that it is totally acceptable to reach out and ask for help when it is needed. We have to realize that just because a family looks different than mine, doesn’t make it any less of a family.

Making the decision to ask for help is a difficult one. It is one that requires pride to be put to the side and truly makes a person vulnerable. Whenever someone makes this challenging move, we must be ready to help in any way we can.

In the end, they are our future. We can stand idly by and not do anything, or we can be part of forming a brighter tomorrow.