“It takes a tribe to raise a human.”
― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
We all have those sayings that we heard constantly in our homes growing up. One of those sayings that I heard in my house was “you become whom you hang out with”. My parents often talked about surrounding yourself with the types of people you strive to become whether it be for personal or professional growth.
I fell into the field of family child care, it was not something I sought out or had ever dreamed of being when I was little. In fact, working with children had never crossed my mind. It wasn’t until a childhood friend who knew that I had decided to stay home with my second child called and asked if I would consider caring for her child because her current provider had decided to retire. I agreed without ever thinking about what I was getting myself into. I have very fond memories of that first year of caring for William and when my husband and I decided to buy our first home I knew I would need more income and I decided to expand and come into the regulated system in my state.
The experience of becoming a regulated family child care provider was grueling as the process was convoluted. Then I received my license to care for up to 8 children in my home and my first thought was, “why would anyone give me a license to do this, I have no clue what I am doing.” This is when that childhood mantra came rushing back and I knew that I would have to surround myself with family child care providers if I was ever going to succeed. I needed a tribe.
I first sought out providers who lived in my city which led me to providers in my county and then to providers throughout my state and eventually to the national level. I didn’t just seek out any family child care provider out there, I sought out those providers who were doing something just a little different than I was so that I could learn from them. I learned not only who I wanted to be in this field, but I also learned who I didn’t want to be in this field.
I think of those individuals that I surround and surrounded myself with as my tribes. Tribes are complex, they can either help us grow or keep us entrenched in the status-quo.
My tribes have shifted over the years depending on my next journey but that doesn’t mean I forgot about all the other tribes I was so fortunate to belong to in the past. I still carry all the lessons that I learned and hope that I was able to pass along a few tidbits of information along the way that benefited someone else. Yes, you can and do belong to many tribes at one time, sometimes they are tribes you join and sometimes they are tribes you create.
Finding, creating, and evaluating your tribe(s) requires that you challenge your current beliefs and practices, it requires that you open your mind to something new. Here are a few questions that I ask myself as I think about my current tribe and the next tribe I want to belong to.
- Where do I want to be in 6 months and 6 years? Why?
- Will it make me a better human, spouse, mother, friend, employee or business owner?
- Are there members in my current tribe who can challenge me to get to where I want to go?
- Am I surrounding myself with people who have the skills and abilities I need to acquire to get there? If not, whom do I need to seek out to bring into my tribe or is there a tribe that already exists that I need to join?
What tribes do you belong to? Do your tribes challenge your beliefs and practices? Will they make you a better human at the end of the day?