It really does take a village

Dear Editor:Imagine having a new baby and knowing that you soon have to return to work, at least part time. Your work is important to you; you have put your heart and soul into it for many years before becoming a mother. You want your new daughter to see her mom doing meaningful things for her community, and you know work makes you feel good, thereby making you be a better mom. But there’s a catch. The wonderful woman you have found to care for your firstborn also loves her work. She has taken many classes and workshops offered through Kids First, Garfield County and CMC in order to educate herself to better understand and care for her charges. She is providing a critical service and takes great pride in valuing the little ones she spends her day with. You find it extremely hard to afford to pay this early childhood educator what you both know she is worth. You know that the first five years of your daughter’s life are the most critical and important. Stimulating her young brain to make all the necessary connections for later success is a goal you both agree upon. You know time spent with this caregiver is worth anything and everything. Early childhood educators have subsidized their chosen profession for years and years, sacrificing monetary rewards for hugs. There is a lot said lately about a living wage. These special people have never really been able to make a living wage because their love of children has made them settle for what parents are able to pay. They have taken understanding to a whole new level of sacrifice.Now imagine a way that funds can come from a community that values their youngest citizens and their parents. Imagine support coming from those who see the need young families and caregivers have and want to help. Imagine early childhood workers and parents and a community working together to solve the problem of the little ones. It really does take a village and it is true that the health of that village is determined by how the children are cared for. Imagine a solution.Katherine WareCarbondale