Children are not designed, by nature, to attach just to the mother, or just to the mother and father. They are, for good biological reasons, designed to form multiple attachments, to many of the people in a community. It is important to recognize here that the private nuclear family, living in a house apart from others in the community, is, from an evolutionary perspective, an unnatural environment. Throughout most of human history, prior to the development of agriculture, people lived not in houses but in what are best described as camps. The basic social unit was the band, which consisted typically of about 20 to 50 people who cooperated with one another and who moved from campsite to campsite as needed to follow the available game and edible vegetation. At each campsite they built small, temporary huts to sleep in, all clustered together. Except when they were asleep, people spent their time outdoors with all of the other band members. Marriages existed, and children had special relationships with their parents, but parents did not “own” their children in the way that people in our culture think of parents as owning their children. In many ways, the children were children of the entire band. Everyone took part in every child’s care. Everyone developed some kind of relationship with every child; and children, even babies, were active partners in forming those relationships.
We lost my soon to be 7 year old on Cheverly Day. Lost is probably a strong word here because we live in Cheverly. Cheverly is the type of community where kids can ride bikes around town without their parents and where my boys can run around Legion Park with all of their friends while I talk to mine. When I couldn’t locate my son at the end of the Cheverly Day Parade I thought to myself, “Someone will find him!” My boys are blessed. They are loved and cared for and KNOWN by most of the town. They are “free range” for the mere fact that they live in Cheverly. I’d encourage all my readers to take 5 min to read the article that I linked to above. It’s fascinating. If you live in Cheverly, you and your children have the opportunity to form multiple attachments. AWESOME!
I should also share (while I’m on the topic of community) that the kids of Cheverly LOVE Cheverly. They take pride in their community. My sweet friend’s daughter made this sign to march in the parade:
And I heard from many other parents this weekend about their children’s love for our neighborhood. Here’s one:
“Mom, I hugged a tree because I wanted to tell Cheverly I love you for its birthday.”
Amen. Happy Birthday to a great town with a great community. I will have lots to post this week concerning Cheverly Day. 🙂 If you haven’t seen the pictures I took at the parade, please click this link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ichoosecheverly/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1523448484355334
PS: please comment and tell me your own thoughts about the community in Cheverly