RE: Kids Vs Elders: Aging In Place
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2006 09:14:03 -0700 (PDT)
As a teacher mentor once told me, the definition of a kid is noise with dirt
on it.  At Sharingwood we have 36 kids of all ages and 52 adults and so kids
are a dominant force here. At this very minute, on a damp Northwest Sunday
morning, there is a small tribe of kids skulking outside my window in the
woods playing some game. 

There are some quiet adult houses (Without kids) and during a gathering of
teens at my house recently I spent a couple hours in the commonhouse
library, enjoying the peace. It is very easy to find quiet space if you
want/need it. Sometimes parents of youngers just come over and have a cup of
tea in our relatively quiet place.  Dining is the intersection place where
kid energy and volume is most noticable and impactful. Over the years we
have had various systems to try to mediate this, including, kids eat with
parents, a small volume bell at each table which was wrung when the noise
got too loud, various rules about noise in the dining room. To date, after
several years, none of these approaches has stuck more than a month or so.
Even when the kids, parents etc make the agreements.  

There is a difference in tolerance to noise. Parents are more used to loud,
energetic kids, its what they live with 24/7 and so to them, the kid energy
is just normal ambient background. To non-parents, its much different. And
of course, there are differences between parents. 

So at this point, the kid energy and noise is monitored by adults and
sometimes adults intervene to lower the threshold. But it is still a loud
and active dining experience, and this filters out people who want/need a
more quiet reflective dining experience. There seems to be little energy in
the adults or kids to change this status quo. I would think the noisy tribe
outside my window might also filter off some adults, and if so, that is
probably OK, we are what we are and it is better to accept that going in,
than hold onto some fantasy and then get frustrated when the community does
not match the fantasy.

Rob Sandelin
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School
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