Kids in community
From: R.N. Johnson (
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 14:45:10 -0700 (PDT)
While raising kids in community is not always a bed of roses, I am grateful to 
have the opportunity to raise my kids in our particular "village."  I can leave 
my one year old at the common dinner table to grab a napkin or a second 
helping, knowing that she will be so busy flirting with her favorite neighbors 
that she will barely register my absence. If our babysitting arrangements 
collapse at the last minute, as they too often do,  one of our neighbors 
usually comes through for us. My 6 year old son, now in a particularly defiant 
stage of asserting his autonomy from adult expectations, recently told me that 
he wasn't sure what the other communities( read committees) did, but he was 
glad he joined the garden community(committee) because everyone needs to work 
on a community(committee) and he liked gardening the best. At New Brighton kids 
are encouraged to participate in community work, but are by no means required 
to participate.     He looks forward
 to community work parties, and likes to help "straw boss" by passing messages 
and fetching tools. How wonderful that he has the 
chance to participate in his community, and that he has absorbed the 
idea of working together in community at this young age. Now if he only felt 
that way about chores at home...  Last week, having exasperated both of his 
parents with loud refusals to get dressed take his dishes to the sink/ put his 
toys away and on the verge of being on the receiving end of some unduly loud 
and uncomplimentary parental remarks, he saw the imminent fireworks and went to 
a neighbor's house for a break. He finagled an invitation to go to a rummage 
sale with them.  An hour an a half later we were all in a much better mood and 
able to take care of our respective household responsibilities quickly and 

Having 20+ neighborly witnesses to your parenting is not for the faint of 
heart, but I personally would not trade it for the world. 

Randa Johnson
New Brighton Cohousing
Aptos, CA

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