It takes a village to raise a child

I was in school slightly before 10am this morning – yes, I know it is incredibly rare for me to be in school anytime before 1pm.

A short explanation would be that, in as much as I’ve found myself a lot happier with a 3am-11am sleep cycle as opposed to forcing myself to be a morning person, I’ve a couple of morning papers next week and I figured it was about time I whacked my body clock back into reality. It was a struggle to get out of bed and I gulped down quite a bit of coffee – speaking of which, I’m really glad that the coffee machine at SOB serves pretty decent coffee at a fraction of the cost from the cafes around school.

But that aside, this post came about because there were heaps of people in school today for admission interviews. It reminded me of a novel I did in IB for my exams – Siddhartha. The cycle repeats itself. I was one of those nervous, excited and very jittery kids fresh out of JC two years back. It’s been two years now, and it is the time for yet another fresh batch of JC kids to attend the interviews.

All these seem trivial now – but not when I thoroughly recount the hopes I had and the dreams my heart contained as I sat through the written papers and interviews for law school.

I’m largely considered successful by society – I don’t have fantastic grades but I got into the oh-so-prestigious local law school, I’m on my way to getting a degree, I stayed out of drugs, booze, and crime, and I pretty much have my future set for me (which I largely disagree, but that’s the POV of most people out there).

The thing is, no one is self-made.

They say, it takes a village to raise a child. That statement still holds weight today. But of course, village has to be interpreted with a contemporary perspective.

I’d say that village means everyone in our community – the wonderful (and not so wonderful) teachers I’ve had, the music lessons, the tuition teachers, my coaches, my dance instructors, parents who drove me around for classes and crazy dance rehearsals that ended near mid-night, a of course, mum who cooks for me and stays up for me.

Let’s not forget the societal factors that made us who we are – the safe streets of Singapore which taught me that as a girl I need not fear unduly because no one has rights to my body, the privileged education systems we grew up in [Crescent and AC were fantastic schools that I’ve never regretted stepping foot into], and the financial abilities of our families coupled with subsidies granted by the government.

What am I getting at?

The importance of reminding ourselves that so many people contributed to allowing us to be who we are; the importance of being humbled knowing that we are not self-made by our own efforts.

What’s the big deal?

It simply means that we are not our own.

As Christians, we hold this perspective because God created us, freed us from the law of sin & death, and gave us all that we have.

But even if you are a non-christian, it is the recognition that so many people sacrificed their time and effort into cultivating you. While it’d be overly dramatic to say you owe them your life, it would be terribly irresponsible to live your life wastefully. Yes- we are responsible, to those who have loved and groomed us, for ourselves. We are responsible to society.

To the teachers who poured their care freely onto us, even though they didn’t have to drain their emotions on students who come and go every year.

Teachers, not just the ones in school, but people who have guided us at various stages of our lives.

I am not my own.

Live life to the fullest, if not for yourself, then for those who have poured so much into you.

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