It's one of those unwritten parts about living in community: keeping an eye out for each other and each other's children. It's not parenting one another's children, and only occasionally is it disciplining one another's children, but it is that neighborhood safety net in action. We're not shirking our responsibilities as parents, but we are helping each other parent.
Just a few days ago at T-ball, I was watching my kids run around the outfield when on the edge of my vision I saw a boy (eight or so) fall from the monkey bars at the adjoining playground. He didn't get up immediately, and although he wasn't shrieking, he was holding his ankle. This boy's mother was caught up with a younger sibling at another game, so I stepped closer to the playground and called out, asking him if he was okay. He turned and looked at me, then turned to another woman, asking the same thing. Yes, he was fine, he said to both of us. Moments later, the mom was there checking up on things, too. A ballet could not have been choreographed better.
This shared sense of care and concern for all the kids is one of the things I love about living where I do. I don't take it for granted and I appreciate it every day. Knowing that just about all the grown ups around my kids care and that sense that we are all in this together makes a positive difference in all our lives.
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