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Being a parent is tough, even more so in the current state of South Africa; Vanessa Raphaely has shared a beautiful outlook on failing

 

South Africa (19 January 2023) – They say it takes a village to raise a child and that is true, but it also takes a village to rally South Africans into a hopeful, positive spirit. Times are feeling incredibly tough so when South Africans put pen to paper to rally their neighbours, we are left in awe of the power of their words.

Vanessa Raphaely, the founder of the popular South African Facebook group “The Village“, shared the following hopeful message. She hoped it would uplift readers and give a positive outlook towards failure and what our children may face when plan A doesn’t pan out. It is a powerful read!

Take a read below and let us know your thoughts.

“I click on my Village Feed, with my heart in my throat and my stomach churning, on some days, during any given year.

The next few weeks, for example.

I know many of our Village families are waiting for and receiving results and acceptances. Matric, Uni … all of that stuff.

BEST of luck, Guys.

But I know many of us are also waiting for the shadow side of acceptance though – the disappointment, anxiety, fear and concern about What The Actual Obscenity Next? when Plan A, doesn’t pan out.

Raising kids can feel like stumbling next to a person carrying your own heart in theirs’, as they run a marathon hurdling race.

As parents, we can feel cursed to watch our children from the sidelines as they face one challenge after another.

Each one, if cleared, leading to more security and success. If not … leading to the opposite:

Get into a great school, get taught well. Get good results, get into a university, get the great job and pow! Your future hopes and your baby are rewarded by Happily Ever After. It sounds so smooth doesn’t it? And also, clearing each hurdle, opening each door seems SO … compulsory. Like THAT is the only way. THAT is what it takes.

And yes. Inherited wealth, generational privilege and “just born with it,” advantage is a hugely useful and ugly, not to emphasise unfair, fact of life.

There ARE people whose progression upwards is oiled and assisted by nothing less than great great luck. There are people who seem to sail through.

It can be scary and depressing to be one of the rest. Especially when the doors others seem to glide through, offer entry into affluence and security.

BUT what about the rest? What about the child who’s just messed up royally in Grade 11? What about the brilliant kid who hasn’t got into his university course of choice, ANY course, for that matter?

What about failure, uncertainty and the general mess and challenge of the task of parenting in the a face of acceptances, results and rejection, that cause us as parents so many sleepless nights and churning stomachs?

What about these days when we feel every door has just been slammed in our faces?

Would it help to tell you … it will be ok? That you and your kids will be OK?

That there are so many Plans APART from Plan A?

Life (and parenting,) is a super tough, long and windy road. The human condition is to be battered and bruised. To fail. To fall, pick ourselves up and try again. This is how we grow. Reversing out of the wrong road chosen, is how we all – parents and children both – grow a tougher skin, grow our resilience, grow our resourcefulness.

These life skills are essential in the development of strong adults.
Especially those of us and ours’, who are not given, at birth, the ticket to Easier Street.

A thought: None of us grow these essential weapons, by getting what we want, first time round.

I can’t even tell you how many of the hugely successful adults I know who took their time to find their feet.

As the parent of kids, aged from 23 to 16, I have now watched a whole cohort start, stop, swivel, turn back, redo, wallow, stumble, need help, fall and rise. My own included.

In my past life as an employer of thousands, over many years, I never ONCE judged a person who bloodied their nose, or took a few wrong turns, along the way. I never asked a person how long it took them before they arrived at my desk. Not once.

I looked and still look for, creativity, projects completed, work done, thoughtfulness, experience, professionalism, reputation in the people I hire and respect. It is a bit obvious to remind everyone that a person can achieve all of these skills through many different paths and plans apart from Plan A?

(Of course there are some careers like sports star, chanteuse, The Next Harry Styles and Supermodel, which are somewhat different, where time is of the essence, but dealing with disappointment in these careers, could be, if anyone is interested, another post, on another day)

The rest of us have to figure out a way to thrive, with setbacks in a very unfair system, often weighted against us.
Setbacks can, of course, squash, mortally wound and damage a person. But there’s something hugely important as parents we can do to make experiencing them beneficial:

A very important task as our children’s guardians, I think, is to role model optimism, resilience, resourcefulness and most importantly, faith in our offspring’s ability to overcome whatever disappointments they face along the way to adulthood.

The longer I hover over this community (now numbering 50 000!) the more I see the power of positive parental belief in action.

It’s a superpower!

In the absence of privilege or ease of elevation, confidence, patience and perspective, are incredibly precious parenting skills.

Sometimes I think our generation of parents were taught that worry was the currency in which we demonstrated our love for our kids.

The results of Faffing, Catastrophising, Helicoptering, Lawnmowering, Tiger Momming? … I’ve now seen just how damaging and limiting they all are to growth, when viewed over the years.

All the above might grow hot house flowers, but they do not grow sturdy beautiful weeds who can grown through concrete on any busy highway. Here’s to sturdy, beautiful weeds!

I think we could help our kids with a gentle but urgent correction:

As parents, (in the face of our own fear and disappointment,) let’s role model bravery, this year. Let’s demonstrate flexibility and explore other options, if needed, with calm and positivity.

Let’s not let disappointment in our children’s situations, infect their own self-belief? They need us as their cheerleaders, now, more than ever.

If you get bad news in the next few weeks, please take a deep breath? Your family WILL find a way. Maybe it’ll be a plan B or even a Plan WTAF? Through Z.

Struggle is the nature of life: Fiddling with that puzzle until the solution presents itself

And the solution WILL present itself. I promise. Until then, The Village is here to support and help you all. Strength, Warriors! together, we’ll get through this


What is The Village?

The Village is an online community aimed at parents of tweens, teens and young adults, founded and managed by Vanessa Raphaely. Having raised three children herself, all while running a successful career, Vanessa is no stranger to the old adage that ‘It takes a Village to raise a child’. She has also watched in dismay as South Africa, in particular, has lost this sense of community as families retreat further and further behind their high walls and into their own small circles. Most especially during the Covid Lockdown years.

With a small inkling that she could recreate this sense of community in cyberspace, she launched The Village in 2017 – with some very strict rules, the most stringent of which is one simple rule we should all abide by in life: Just Be Kind. The result is an online community of over 50 000 parents, from all walks of life, who are supportive, non-judgemental, kind, and giving. The content in The Village is primarily user-generated, which is to say it is created by members, posting their questions, advice, comments and thoughts on parenting in the modern age. From help and support surrounding teenage mental health to practical solutions for parents looking for alternative solutions for their neurodiverse kids, from subject choices to career guidance, and from skincare to real advice about sex, drugs and rock n roll from parents who have been there, and done that.

The entire group is expertly curated by Vanessa and a small group of trusted admins, to ensure that it remains a safe and respectful environment for its Village members.

To join The Village, click here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1718861155110611/


Sources: The Village – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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