Re: Inter-generational Integration efforts
From: dahako (
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 09:54:48 -0700 (PDT)
  Hi -
 At Eno Commons, the pre-move preparation was mostly having a lot of social 
events together and sort of acculturating to each other. 
 One of the funny things that happened was that one member (cough*Robert 
Heinich*cough) told us when we joined with our two little ones that he didn't 
like kids and they didn't like him. He used to tell the toddlers and slightly 
older kids that he was going to grill them and eat them with ketchup and 
mustard. To his surprise, the kids loved this. One day, Robert arrived at our 
house for a pancake breakfast/business meeting and our son Harry, who was 2-1/2 
and still not speaking, ran away from Robert as he arrived at the door only to 
return a moment later with the ketchup. Harry handed the ketchup to Robert, and 
pointed to one of the other toddlers, clearly indicating who Robert was to 
snack on first. After that, Robert sneaked the kids chocolate (yes, I noticed), 
painted his house mustard/ketchup/mayo colors, and took on the job of 
organizing babysitting for meetings because he felt the parents were too busy. 
He's also a sucker for babies. The transformative power of getting to know each 
other is amazing.
 At Eastern Village, we also brought the kids to all sorts of community 
activities. Just before move-in, the parents and kids formulated some 
provisional kid rules that were never formally adopted, although they were 
presented to the community and discussed a couple of times. I think the main 
thing was that the parents of on-site kids gave the non-parents permission to 
send any kid home for any reason, and certain areas of the development were 
made off-limits for play for safety reasons (elevators, fire stairs, workshop, 
kitchen, and the green roof w/ supervision). We have discussed and updated the 
kid rules once, but still not formally adopted them (more than 2 years on 
site). We have had some bumps, and are having a pretty big baby boom, so I 
guess we may need to get more formal soon.
 In general, I'm a fan of Rob Sandelin's advice to not make more rules than you 
need to before you move in. For child policy especially, until your community 
makes the transition from talking about "this family's kids" to "our 
community's kids", you will not get the rules right anyway.
 Jessie Handforth Kome
 Eastern Village Cohousing
 Silver Spring, Maryland
 "Where some of my neighbors explained over Friday night dinner how I could 
speed up my internet connection - and I was able to do it myself first try. And 
another neighbor got tired of her music and is working her way through our CD 
collection and sharing hers with us. And lately, most of the community business 
seems to be getting done at the Village Knit-Wits get togethers."
 -----Original Message-----
 From: Becky [at]
 To: cohousing-l [at]
 Sent: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 12:30 AM
 Subject: [C-L]_ Inter-generational Integration efforts
  Hello!  I have a question to pose mainly geared towards established (aka,
built and moved-in) communities.  But if you have an opinion or idea, and
you are pre-move-in, I am of course interested in your information as well.
Bear with me. I cannot find a way to ask this question in a simple sentence
or two, so here goes.


I am interested to know what, if anything, your community did to prepare
your members for living together in community, particularly in regards to
children.  Did you hold a discussion about expectations, concerns, requests?
If you have policies or guidelines addressing concerns around children
specifically, did you formulate them before move-in, and if so, how?  And if
you intentionally did not create such policy/guidelines, what was your
reasoning?  How did you learn what the wants and needs were within your
membership?  How did you address such a delicate subject?


We have families with children, and we have couples and singles without
children.  We haven't expressly communicated about any expectations or
concerns we may have.  I'm sure we all have different ideas of "the way
things will be".  We need to communicate.  We are having a hard time finding
a good way to do that.  Our meetings have a distinctly businesslike feel, so
we are having difficulty figuring out how a discussion such as this could
fit into our typical meeting structure.  We've considered creative ways of
integrating adults and children in certain activities, but some members
bristle at the idea of forced or artificial integration.  How to smooth the
communication pathways and figure out. whatever we need to figure out??


Many thanks,

~Becky, Camelot Cohousing, Berlin, MA

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