When I was in junior high, my mom gave me a book by Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was called It Takes a Village, and it contained not only my mom’s values she practiced of community and giving, the ones that I hold dear now, but also the ones I hoped would be spread around the world one day. At the time, my response was something like “ugh, really?” Because in true socially progressive hippie tiger mom fashion, she made me write an extra-curricular book report on it. During the summer. ?!?!?! Twenty years later, I am incredibly thankful for this.
Zipping around town on my scooter on Tuesday, I had really hoped to write about this book feeling stoked and sprinkled with all the feelings that come with the first female leader of the USA. I’m not American, and yes there have been female heads of state in the past. But this felt bigger. The kind of holy shit big, the world is going to change for the better, let’s all rejoice because all of the world’s problems are no longer. Panacea. Drop mic.
But that moment never came. We receded. We are now working through the stages of grief. We are allowing ourselves to regroup, reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones, to acknowledge the fear of the future. And to figure a way to overcome every single anticipated hurdle. I loved Grace’s words on all these feelings.
It Takes a Village is a book about raising kids. The science, biology, psychology of childrearing. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about kindness and community, it’s about how our world has changed, it’s about those values that we really need to hold onto in order to push forward a new generation of kind, authentic, inclusive, hard working and resilient people. (Sure, it could be updated now to feature clearer and more diverse definitions of family, but hey, I think the author has some other things to do right now.)
These values have continued to resonate with me through adulthood. I couldn’t have surmounted a bunch of obstacles without them. But in the past 24 hours, they’ve been reverberating in me even more deeply and intensely. The village, its elders, its healers, mothers and fathers, leaders and lovers, sisters and brothers have never been more important than now.
The next days will be about recalibration. Assuming warrior pose. Appealing to our better angels. All of the ways to keep the good going. I’ve always been about rebirth, the phoenix rising from the fire. I hope these themes of community, kindness and rejuvenation will all be part of the narrative over the next years.