generation gaps
Date: Mon, 3 May 93 12:25 CDT
RE: Date: Tue, 26 Jan 93 12:50 CST
RE: From: Fred H Olson -- WB0YQM <FRED%JWH [at]>
RE: Subject: Exclusive space for one age group

    "Tempers also flared briefly over the issue of a teen lounge.  Resident
    teenagers wanted a space in the Commonhouse  to escape adults and play
    music.  One member objected. She thought a room exclusive for one age was
    contrary to Winslow's spirit.  Thanks to the community's special rule --
    decision by consensus -- her refusal scotched the idea."
    "Says 15 year old Ty Moore, "We really wanted that room."  Eventually they
    arrived at a compromise: the teenagers were allowed to have scheduled, if
    not spontaneous, use of the commons-area playroom by installing a
  I don't see why the teenagers shouldn't have their own room - assuming one is
  available and their numbers and competing needs permitted. Some minimal adult
  oversight would be in order and I'd expect teenagers to participate in
  broader aspects of the community as well.
  The idea of cohousing is not to homogenize individuals and subgroups. In fact
  I would argue that one of the strengths of cohousing is the balance that
  allows for the development of individuals, families and by extension
  subgroups all of whom also work for the good of the community too.
  I remember an aspect of the collective household that we lived in about 16
  years ago that I disliked that is relavant here.  It seemed to me that the
  emphasis on sharing a common evening meal and related dynamics was so great
  that it made it difficult to maintain relationships outside the house.  I
  felt that there was pressure to include the rest of the household when I
  wanted to get together with friends from outside. Particularly if these
  friends were also friends of other household members.  It was tho 'we all do
  it together or we dont do it at all'.

I think that there is a ***very*** real tendancy/danger that if teenagers were
given a space of their own, that they would retreat into it and interact with
the rest of the comunity very seldomly, only when they need to.  I see this
happening a lot in 'normal' families.  This is a bad thing in my opinion.
Is this as big a problem in co-housing?

Also something I've noticed in sharing a 'farm' with 'younger' people is that
different age groups may have different values that they invest their time and
money into.  

I'm 35, my Spice is 45, her daughter & husband are ~22, and her son is 18. 
Charlotte & I would like to do more with our land, clear some of it, get some
sheep, etc, but we can't get any consistant help  from the younger folks.  

They want to spend most of their time going out, hanging out, partying, etc. 
Not that this is necessarily bad some of the time, or even a lot of the time at
a certain stage of life.  But it seems to me that this would be a problem in a
co-housing community which had different age groups, that some people would be
interested in putting time and energy into improving their community, and would
resent the  people who would not.

Anyone else have problems like this?

Jim Baranski
Lanman Hill Farm
Norwich CT

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