There is a sparse area of woods just beyond a small yard in the front of our house. This area has been named by the children in our family, "The Village", and happens to be the favorite play spot for our kids. Comprising the Village are child-built homes complete with fenced garden areas, flowered arbors, and outdoor kitchens. Supplies and building materials for the buildings have been salvaged from the trash pile, the lumber shed, the woods, and "the Goodwill pile".
The Village happens to be right outside my kitchen window, which particularly blesses the Mommy. When the children play there, I do not require the usual walkie-talkies to be put into service, as I am able to watch the happenings. In my late afternoon musings from the kitchen window, I have pondered many reasons why the Village is definitely a requirement for raising these children well.
The Village adventures related at dinner are the stuff from which pure joy is made. On a great Village day, the children leave off that familiar bickering, and learn the teamwork that some believe can only be learned from participating in team sports. Other, more general benefits include:
- Village building uses up those miscellaneous pieces-parts of stuff that should be tossed, but never quite make it to the trash pile (or at least don't stay on the trash pile).
- The kids are allowed to use their creativity in ways that keep them out of trouble (i.e. they have permission to build in the Village). This is one of those side benefits to living in the country, as well. When we lived in a "planned community", folks could be fined for something as simple as a bike left out overnight.
- It makes our farm fit in the neighborhood better asthetically. The Village gives the place that country ecclectic look, sometimes known around here as the "poor white trash" look. Besides, it kinda "goes" with the house on the corner with 14 broken-down cars parked in the front yard.
- The children come in at the end of the day covered from head-to-foot with dirt. It is a great life for a farm kid. Every child should have the opportunity to be that dirty regularly.
I love to go out to visit the Village, to see their home improvements, the new meals cooked that day, get updates on their "gardens", and find out how they have occupied themselves all afternoon. I am often suprised at what they know how to do, how much they really have listened, and what things they have discovered on their own.
I have found that the Village is a place of discovery for me, too.
As a matter of fact, just this morning I discovered the location of my missing measuring cups. Apparently it does take a Village.
The newest addition to the Village, complete with parking area and shed on the back.
A lady's touch: a 'deck' and walkways.
Looks kinda cozy inside. I love the tablecloth.