|Front yard play in our community|
I’ve been reading a lot about community lately, or the sense of belonging (I posted about it earlier this week, too). Mostly this was in relation to the whole ‘who am I?’ idea, but this idea kept popping up in the articles. (Sorry I have no references for you, there were so many short little ones. I admit I should have kept track of them for you.)
I remember the mention of neighbors playing outside with their kids out in front of their homes and slowly other neighbors would come around and after a while evenings just became social gatherings or parties. A sense of community arose as a result of families being accessible to others, not secluded in their back yards, even if seclusion wasn’t the intention.
I found it very interesting that my sister in law brought this very thing up at our recent play date, er, well, I mean our kids’ play date, while we were chatting. L. told me that when she and her husband first had kids there were several families in the neighborhood with young children and everyone seemed to gather ‘out front’ and chat at night while the kids played together.
Slowly homes sold and the ‘feel’ of the neighborhood changed. L. said when new families moved in children began playing in their backyards more often and there seems to be little sense of community now. My niece and nephew still play out front, but neighbors have talked to her about the volume her children play at, which isn’t any louder than other kids playing in their back yards.
We play in both the front and the back, depending on what our kiddos want to do at the time. I think for us the communication between neighbors has more to do with the stage of life our neighbors are in. The communication is different, with simple hellos exchanged in the front yard between our family and singles or couples (with grown children who are no longer living at home) walking their dogs and meaningful conversations with immediate neighbors (who can watch the children play in our yard from their windows) in the backyard.
So I guess I’m not sure if I’m a front yard or backyard-er. Maybe a little of both? Playing outside, in back or front, with my family has definitely made me feel I belong in this community, though.