It Takes a Village ..

I posted “It Takes A Village .. And An Army” some time ago.

This is different.

While originally attributed to Hillary Clinton, presented in the phrase’s eponymous text, the intent is clear: children grow into maturity at a sum that is (hopefully) greater than the input of their parents, their schools and their Communities.

Healthy Communities care for us all.  They consist of people who jump cars when batteries have died .. jump out of their cars to help push a stalled car into the shoulder .. who dial 9-1-1 when something is amiss in the neighborhood.

Our Communities have cared for us during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve contributed to food banks, maintained safe distances when we pass each other during walks or at the markets, and talked with each other to ease our isolation.

Now to the children:

  • Our Country needs to employ our people at a measure greater than allowed when parents are compelled to go beyond ‘normal’ parenting by remaining home full-time. Parents are performing daycare and education .. beyond just being parents. This takes time, and when schools are closed, this keeps parents at home. Parents do it, to ensure family safety and the safety of the Community, however with a significant economic impact to themselves and to our Country.
  • Parents need to go to work .. this is obvious, and we all understand it. Many parents do not have a WFH option, and even if they do, prolonged child care will cut into their productivity and effectiveness .. Again risking significant economic impact to themselves and our Country.
  • Children need to be in an environment other than the home for enough of their lives to benefit from peer / social integration, community awareness and third-party checkpoints as to their health and welfare.

So, given that schools appear to be opening prematurely and carelessly in several US markets (including Georgia, where I live), and as evidenced from Israel’s catastrophic school opening in May .. what are we thinking? These careless, half-starts that result (again) in distance learning should be a non-starter when measured against a more sensible approach.

So here’s one .. let’s Engage the Village.

  • Identify parents that can host safe (call it a ‘bubble’) environment of connected families.
  • Ensure the parents are compensated (not always cash) for their time with our children.
  • Release other parents, either full-time, or on a respected cadence, to work or to take their shifts within their ‘bubble’.

Oversimplified, I agree. A Bubble is only as good as those who remain in it .. and there is always a risk for those therein when others from outside pass into it (without a 14-day isolation effort). The Bubble has worked for the NBA and NHL so far (a kudos to the team members), but the lack of a bubble is decimating the MLB and making NFL and College Sports a non-starter this season.

The Bubble can work. Consider “See Hawaiian hotel turned into ‘bubble’ college campus“. This is a real-life project, where students would occupy rooms, studying via distance learning .. but be enabled with an environment that allows them to wander out to an on-site Hub, an on-site Library, the camaraderie of campus life .. in a protected beach setting.

Your mileage may vary .. but consider this. For the proper, motivated and cautious Communities .. There are aspects of this strategy that could return children to attended school, parents to work and help to fulfill those whose gifts are in caring for others.

Please think about it.

Be smart. Join or form your Community. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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