I firmly believe that it does take a village to raise a child, a concept that I think suffers in our age of over-protectiveness of our children and the (often justified) heightened sense of fear we experience as parents. We are afraid to let our kids be with other groups of people, and other adults especially, without hovering over them. I came to this realization the other day while shopping at a local farm. A woman I would call an acquaintance, who has a daughter around my kids' age, asked if she could take my boys up to see the chickens so I could shop in peace. My instinct was "no, that's okay, I can watch them, I don't want them that far out of sight, I don't know you as well as I should..." Then I realized that this was a safe environment, I have spoken with her lots around town, and the boys could learn a lot from this, both from the chickens and from someone else talking about them.
As soon as I said "yes," I was awash in that feeling of community. My boys need exposure to that kind of experience, and I need to help them learn and grow among all kinds of people, not just at their mama's side.