Question: When I was young, parenting just didn’t seem as hard (or expensive) as it feels to me these days. In your last EcoParent column, you spoke about making cities more livable by designing for children. That’s great, but I don’t want to wait. I miss the days when children played in the streets and everyone knew their neighbours and a parent could afford to stay home or work part-time. Do I need to join a commune to get that now?
Answer: My children and I are reading a series called The Moffats that takes place early last century in upstate New York. It offers a lens on another reality – a time gone by.This family of four, with their single mom and their constant lower-middle-class-poor kind of family always has enough healthy food to eat, enjoys fun adventures together (without their mother needing to be there – she’s at home working) and the entire town shows up to do things like celebrate the “Oldest Inhabitant turning 100”. My work background is in community planning and I love statistics, but this is a different kind of research that’s just as important. It’s the power of the stories that begin with: “When I was young, we used to…” It doesn’t take long to find some neighbour who is willing to talk about how things were when they were young with more than a hint of nostalgia.
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