Today, we have a special guest blogger that would like to share her heart with you…words of insight from my daughter Breelynn- leaving her university town to begin a social work internship in a week.
I grew up, throughout my life, hearing the saying “it takes a village”. My parents always made sure to stress the importance of acknowledging how many people are a part of our lives…making us who we are, investing in us, looking out for us, and ultimately loving on us. It was not until I really came to college that I fully understood the magnitude of that saying, and just how much having “a village” meant to me. As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, I soon realized that it was not just my mom and dad that I missed, but it was also my friends, my aunts and cousins, my mom’s best friends, the kids and families I babysat for, my friends’ families…and the list could go on. My heart did not just long for my parents, my sole caretakers…but it longed for my WHOLE family…my village of people.
As “college world” evolved into “home,” a new village of people came into my life…or rather, my previous village just expanded. Being an only child, I have always been confident in hanging with the adults. I was taught at a young age how to sit at the “grown up table” and have “big kid” conversations…how to be polite and be a good listener, as well as be invested and ask questions. And now, at 22 years of age I am STILL refreshed by older adults, and families. When I got my job at Kids Korner (the daycare at the YMCA) I was STOKED because I got to work with MOMS. This may sound silly, but truly having a job where older, wiser women got to pour into me on a daily basis and allowed me to love on their kids was one of the biggest blessings to me over the past four years.
And now, here I am four years later…realizing that as soon as I have kids, and they are old enough to listen, I will be teaching them the importance of having a village, because at the end of the day it really is ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE. So often we get caught up in the stresses of work or daily life, how much money we are making, how insecure we are, or how dysfunctional our lives are that we forget to slow down and make time for people. I easily could have looked at every shift at the YMCA, every babysitting gig, every wedding I catered, and every family I nannied for as just a paycheck and a job to pay the bills. But I am SO grateful that I took time to actually invest and savor those things. Had I not, I would have missed out on the numerous amounts of families opening up their homes and lives to me that I do now…generously serving me with free laundry, home-cooked meals, extra groceries, baby cuddles, and even prayer time. I love that there are kids in my life begging for headbands of mine so we can be “twins,” and pleading with me to let them come for a play date at my house.
Folks, moral of the story is: slow down. Love people and let yourself be loved. Invest in people, and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to be invested in. Every person has a story – so take the time to figure it out. When that co-worker or classmate is driving you crazy, remember something in their life may be going on. Dare to be bold and ask people questions. It is because I was both willing to share and listen that I have the dearest Eau Claire village of people I could ever have asked for.
And to those of you reading this that are a part of my constantly growing village: thank you for loving me, investing in me, and truly being my family.