Just another day in the neighborhood..

Won’t you be mine? ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor, just like you. I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you…soooo

This is a song my littlest child recently learned in her kindergarten class and I cannot get it out of my head. Not only does it bring back fond memories of Mr. Rogers pretend land..a land I visited as often as possible as a child, but it amazes me that the children growing up now have never seen Mr. Rogers. Can you imagine that? A new generation filled with children who haven’t ever wanted to be your neighbor!?

Lately I’ve been contemplating the concept of how neighborhood has changed over the years. My little kids have never watched Mr. Rogers and they’ve always lived in a world where everyone has a computer and a cell phone. (and in other houses, an ipod and and iPad and several TVs and DVD players, and Wii, etc, ad infinitum.) We don’t have a ton of that stuff, just a couple TVs, 3 computers and a couple of cell phones. We don’t even have an Iphone. The only apples here are in the fridge.

But seriously…you know my kids are going to grow up and have facebook pages and twitter accounts (or whatever the newest, most modern version is..maybe they will have little avatars and never leave home a la Heinlein’s robot worlds) and keep in touch with everyone they’ve ever known in their lives. Their neighborhood might be a virtual world.

I wonder if we’re losing out, really. We like to go out to the parks and stores and play with friends, but probably not as often as we might have done in the past when we didn’t have things to engage our minds right at home. Eli, for example, always wants to go if I leave the house, but as soon as we get back, he wants to watch videos on the computer for hours. Heck, it might be the path by which kids like him learn to communicate for all I know.

It means that modern moms (or old fashioned ones) have a different world in which we have to figure out not just when our kids can have their ears pierced and sleep over a friends house, but when they should get a video game system or an ipod or a facebook account. What ages are best for that?

I miss having a neighborhood where we knew everyone on the street and we knew that the old ladies across the street were watching every move the kids made…it made the world feel safe, but explorable. I could go to the park by myself by the time I was 9…I went to the library while walking home from school by myself at that same age. Granted, I was an awkward and shy kid that probably wouldn’t have been preferred by kidnappers, but no one thought there was anything wrong with that in the 70s.

Now, especially as a single mother, I don’t want to let my kids ride their bikes around because people drive too fast through the neighborhood..we don’t let our kids just walk to their friend’s house, even if it’s around the block. The world has changed, and it’s really paranoid on this side of the fence. As a kid you think you are immortal but as a parent, you know that bad things happen.

I’m not sure which option is better, or if there is a way to meet in the middle. I like to take the kids to the grocery store so that they have “safe ground” to encounter and talk to many different people and not be afraid to make friends with anyone. I’m worried that we’re all going to turn into those people on Heinlein’s “I, Robot” world..never see anyone except through a 3D image..because we’re afraid of germs and associating and touch and love and companionship.

I really still wish that my neighborhood was more friendly. I tried when I first moved here to invite everyone around me to an open house for xmas. A lot of people were happy about the idea, but only a couple of neighbors actually came. Maybe they were busy? Maybe they just didn’t want to go meet new people. I want to live in a neighborhood where people barbeque and hang out and have block parties and the kids run around and the whole neighborhood is looking out for them. There’s some community that has really been lost in our modern world. I would love to see it come back again. We all say it takes a community to raise a child…but aren’t we missing out on the community part? I wonder if that’s why I go to UU…I want more community.

I feel like community helps us live a lot less dangerously!

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Published by

Megan Jobes

About to graduate college, moving into a job in the computer programming industry

3 thoughts on “Just another day in the neighborhood..”

  1. Recently, there was this whole “let your kid go to the park alone day.” I thought it was ridiculous. I feel like a hawk around children. They NEVER leave my sight. I guess that’s part of how I grew up, huh? I watched Mr. Rogers, but still grew up paranoid!

  2. have you read “Free Range Kids”? i just finished it a few weeks ago, and BOY, is it eye-opening. it addresses what you discuss here — modern day loss of “neighborhood”, media-induced paranoia, etc… fantastic (and somewhat surprising) info that i think all parents should know! it’s been fun trying out various “free-range” methods with my kids. all hope is not lost! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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