It takes a village…
It takes a whole village to raise a child.
Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) Proverb
This Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) proverb exists in different forms in many African languages. The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the larger family (sometimes called the extended family). Everyone in the family participates especially the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins (via Afriprov.org).
I’m from a town and time when what you did at school made it home before you did. Take that however you would like. There were relatives on either side of me with produce you could take and/or trade for. I could walk down the highway to the nearest church if I liked. I made sure to do so as often as I could to lessen my guilt when I picked the blackberries from the patch in front of it.
Much like the blackberries I used to pick, I crave learning. I did not want to go to college — I was guilt tripped into it by a relative…and a scholarship. As a result, I still have a few of the friends I gained while attending although I was a socialite nerdy DBZ lovin’ poet. Extroverted introvert. I wasn’t really happy, though — it took me longer to graduate because I kept dropping my status to part-time. College isn’t for everyone.
Fast-forward 10+ years — I’m in school again! New people, new experiences, new — wait. I’m remote?! How am I supposed to learn!
Beginning Flatiron School was one of the most exciting and scary things I have done in a long while (you can briefly read about my journey here). My first week in, my advisor introduced me to “The Neighbors”. Day 1 — I was delightfully “hazed”, initiated, and not long after, became “one” of the family. At some point over the past month, I have become the group’s de facto cheerleader. Positive even on my worst days.
I know — how does one do that remotely! I tried to wrap my head around it. Then today, I realized I have accountability.
Challenge you @tracypholmes?
YEP! I’m up for it, Bro Yechiel K. What’s our deadline?
How about by the time we wake up tomorrow morning the other needs to have a post up?
And yes, he reminded me of our virtual handshake. I am keeping my end of the bargain as we speak.
The one time I truly felt like I may have made a bad decision, someone inboxed me — I’d never talked to this person before, but they saw my message in the Slack and we had a very down-to-earth chat. I felt SO much better afterward. Now I’m trading a 6-pack of Squirt soda for some Cherrywine.
I get to practice bug reports while helping someone who‘s freaking out about their project. I learn how great using GitHub Issues is in conjunction with portfolio projects. We trade articles, vent about coursework, and then provide solutions and suggestions on how to better it. I face-palm about Pry, curse about that missing comma, and geek out about RSpec & Test Driven Development. In the process, my Dean (Avi) is teaching me about Object-Oriented Ruby and that it’s okay to be wrong. It’s the way you approach your solutions that really matters. We are spread out all over the world, but best believe at 3AM, someone will be online to listen, screen-share (if needed) and help.
In addition to our morning club (including virtual coffee, nerdy jokes, and puppies), I have a core set of people I know are going to keep me accountable. Get concerned when they “feel” something is off. Set goals with me. Admit how nested hashes in Ruby made them feel. Give feedback on code and help me brainstorm blog topics. Discuss career planning methods with me. Because for all intents and purposes, I am a [coding] child.
These are my people. I would not trade them for anything. They are the definition of support. The meaning of family.
I’ve found my village. Except it’s a neighborhood. And they are making sure I am raised “right”.