Culture | December 6th, 2022

A Little Help to Raise Me

By: Destiny Gaines
A Little Help to Raise Me

To Alexcia,

Even at your young age, I’m confident that your future will be bright. Having such a bubbly personality with a dash of sass installed in you; it was meant for us to be sisters. Ever since I discovered that you were on the way, I knew it was important for me to work even harder to show you that being a black woman has difficult days, but eventually, the hard work will pay off. As your big sister, I will continue to be your forever hype woman as you grow into the amazing person that you are. For someone like you to have experienced so much and still carry this beautiful smile, it will forever inspire me.

Love you, from infinity to infinity,



Destiny Gaines (21) and sister, Alexcia Gaines (5).

It Takes a Village: When half of the parenting village doesn’t exist anymore

What does this phrase even mean? According to Tulsa Kids, this phrase is an African proverb in reference to what it takes to raise a child. Most families have had different life experiences, including the loss of their first love, their mother. Regardless of age, losing someone you built a connection with from the moment you laid on their chest is traumatic. The relationship between a mother and daughter is viewed as beautiful because of the complex and valuable lessons taught.

Let’s not forget that it takes two to create a human being. But having to step up and take full responsibility due to unexpected circumstances and developing questions in your head about whether this is something you’re capable of doing by yourself can affect your mental health while grieving for your daughter.

Photo credit: Destiny Gaines

Alexander Gaines, single father to Alexcia, said that stepping up to raise his daughter was never an option, yet he feared making the wrong decisions for her future.

“I was nervous of failing on her whenever she needs me… currently, she’s okay with adapting to life without her mother. But I am always attentive to the things that she does because it could be a sign of needing me or her village to love her.”

It takes a Village: To raise a child

What exactly does a village contain? Though our parents are considered our main caretakers, a family can have anyone willing to teach the child about the rough reality that we live in and how to adjust to it. From close uncles to teachers, a village will find ways to connect with the child. Using different bonding activities to work with the child and provide a safer environment could allow the child to feel more comfortable about herself.

In a moment, there might be some obstacles that the child might face. This is when the village steps in to take care of and support the child. When dealing with loss, it is necessary to become more sensitive to the situation. The child can become rebellious as a signal for the attention she can’t get from the person she lost.

It takes a Village: Healing on their own

There will be certain occasions when the child can’t rely on their village. Trying to identify the person that they are becoming can be difficult. Many phases come with the journey of finding out who we are, what we like, and how we choose to move in this world.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University psychology graduate Jade Franklin says that the best thing a village can do at this point is to ask directly how the child needs help.

“Everyone is different, and some people require support and love shown in different ways.”

Healing can reveal a lot of emotions as well, as the child is finally at the stage where they are comfortable enough to express their feelings. The process takes time and acknowledgment because of the different stages. Even though the village can’t do too much, openly communicate with the child and let them know they are supported. Some lessons don’t just happen through a village teaching you, but rather the trial of life and experiences.

Photo credit: Destiny Gaines