“It takes a village to raise a child” is a truism used in our society today which has African roots. The quote suggests it takes an entire community of people for children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.

Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote a book by the same name. The premise of the book and the truism is that one parent, or even two parents, can’t provide everything a child needs to develop to their full potential. Parents must “hand off” to a support team of family members, teachers, Scout leaders, coaches, church youth group leaders  and others.

School starts in Wilkes County on Monday and our local children are headed back for another year of learning. Teachers have been getting ready for the new year almost since the previous school year ended. All through the summer, teachers have attended workshops, certification programs and spent time getting their classrooms ready for the new year.

I think we often focus on the importance of classroom teachers (because they are critical) and forget just how important schools’ support personnel are to the growth and development of children. Sometimes it’s a coach, teacher assistant, cafeteria worker or bus driver who really makes an impact.

My son, Andrew, was greatly influenced by his elementary physical education teachers, Scott Waugh and John Broome, and his middle school physical education teacher, Sharon Rollins, as well as his coaches along the way.

And we’ll never forget our children’s bus drivers, Dixie Curry, Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn and Missy Curry. The Wilkes Journal-Patriot’s former circulation manager, Debbie Hayes Church, worked in C.C. Wright’s cafeteria before she came to us. She often spoke about the children she met at C.C. Wright and the smiles she tried to give to them.

In today’s society, school counselors are so important. They can often give students that individual attention that’s so desperately needed.

Art and music teachers are vitally important as well. Who knows...they might be encouraging a future Michelangelo, Rachmaninoff or Beyonce!

Senior Care

 The truism, “It takes a village,” also applies when working with our older adults. My mother had hip replacement at Novant Clemmons Medical Center recently. To expedite recovery following surgery, a team of people was involved including physical, occupational and respiratory therapists, registered nurses and certified nursing assistants. They had her up walking within a few hours.

She experienced wonderful nursing throughout her stay, but she was particularly impacted by her CNAs Lilyana and Lacie.

Lilyana, her daytime CNA, who is originally from Bosnia, has been in the United States for 16 years. Having a Polish husband, I quickly picked up on her Eastern European accent. Lilyana’s quiet, gentle touch gave my mother the confidence and encouragement she needed.

When Lacie came in from 7 p.m.-7 a.m., she brought a little sunshine with her. Her smile and teasing manner lifted my mom’s spirits each day.

In our interactions with others, we never really know the impact we might be having, both for good and bad. A quick smile or encouraging word can change someone’s day.

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