The global village tends no fire around which the children can gather.
Its sophisticated arrogance is politely to sneer at domesticity as a lovely ideal, but ultimately a naive and inevitably temporary undertaking.
It announces to anyone seeking to grow roots, that home is to be found everywhere, making sure that it is nowhere to be found.
No wonder then that many of us are part of a deracinated throng that for generations has wandered towards an elusive somewhere we are told is both here and there, homeless people forever on our way towards the rumour of a village hearth.
The denigration of the homebody and the dismissal of a place-bound life has ripped into the fabric of most lineages, leaving its bloodied mark on the words once spoken there.
If you doubt whether this is so, and has been for centuries, consider the old Latin word villain, which means ‘inhabitant of a farm,’ or ‘the scoundrel in thrall to the villa for his life’.
The Swedish word ‘hemsk’ today means horrible, terrible, frightening. Follow it back in time to the 1800s, and you find the meaning changes slightly to anxious and gloomy, even stupid. Further back yet, and it speaks of a person who spends most of his or her time being at home.
Of all the myriad challenges parents grapple with as they raise a child in a culture such as this, one of the more common ones is the feeling of being unsettled, literally without a seat to rest on.
Many fathers and mothers are overcome with the experience of being adrift and isolated. Wanting to pass on a greater sense of stillness and belonging to their children, they wish for their lives to be held with more groundedness. But even meditation or its equivalents offer a weak medicine for the affliction of endless perambulation.
The path that meets these needs passes instead through the willingness to stay put long enough for the whole family to become so enthralled by the intimacy of a place, that they may one day proudly reclaim their role as villains.
Then home becomes truly irreplacable, a somewhere not found anywhere else but here, and that alone is enough to kindle a fire that draws others towards an actual hearth.