When it comes to being all about local, there’s no one better to turn to than young children. They are all about the here and now, living in the moment in ways that adults day dream about bringing back into their lives. Thankfully, we have those sweet tiny souls to show us all how to rediscover the places and spaces right in front of us – giving us that chance to get to know out neighborhoods again and the people who bring energy and life to them.
Earlier this week, the struggles of the down towns and urban neighborhoods in the Comox Valley made headlines with an emotional, spirited discussion to follow. Local residents with all sorts of perspectives chimed in, talking about ways to create positive momentum and bring a true sense of vibrancy back to the heart of our communities.
While the ideas were all across the board, one sentiment prevailed – down towns and urban centers everywhere are filled with the stories of the people who live, work and spend time there. By connecting to and discovering those personal stories, a spirit rises up and those centers thrive.
Neighbourhoods are hugely important in the lives of families with kids. They give us meeting places, spots to play, a coffee shop to break at on the way to the park or a giant rock that tells us we’re half-way home on the walk from school.
The route you take every day becomes ingrained in your being. You and your family have a very personal relationship with everything along that path from beginning to end. You look forward to waving hello to the bookstore owner who saved you a copy of a book she knew would be perfect for your kiddo. When you go to pick up sushi on the way home, the hellos from the restaurant owner, how he remembers your child’s name and puts an extra piece of fruit in the box for her makes you come back time and again because their stories are a part of your stories.
In these times full of Facebook friends and technology that keeps people apart as much as it brings them together, our neighbors and neighborhoods and the health of them is more important than ever before.
Every mom knows that the fellow moms and dads they run into along the path every day become a special part of making parenting a bit easier, a bit more of a communal adventure and a bit more sweet. It is those people along the way that you remember forever and become eternal parts of your being.
Kids, with their ability to see the smallest bug or crack or leaf on a tree become our sense of today, every moment for them is about discovery and figuring out what the world looks like. While we as adults stomp along the sidewalk just trying to get the kids to school in the mornings, they find incredible joy in saying hi to the garbage person, petting the puppies that the lovely woman down the road walks every morning and counting the cracks on that same sidewalk.
It is because of that childlike sense of discovery that we know as adults the sweetness of community. Time to put on those glasses that find the store with the best candy bowl and the post office that gives out stickers and get to know our neighborhoods once again.
For the next week, OBE will be bringing families simple ways to tap into the locally-minded spirit of young children and the way they orient themselves in the world beyond home with the Rediscovering Our Neighbourhoods project.
We’ll be here offering up creative and fun ways to get out into your neighbourhoods to explore, and even inviting families with wee ones to join us for our weekly NeighbourWood Walk that will be making an unscheduled stop in downtown Comox this week for a little unusual kind of map making.
Join us in rediscovering the little landmarks filled with familiar faces that are so very important in the lives of our small children, that create memories and in the end bring to us at any age some of the nearest and dearest people and places in our lives.
About the Author (Author Profile)Robin Rivers is Our Big Earth’s Publisher and Sr. Partner. Able to survive on coffee alone. Often can be found leaping tall buildings with the help of great friends. Predisposed to odd hats and the color orange. In love with imagination, her kids and that crazy guy who married her.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Rediscovering Our Neighbourhoods | The Shop Around The Corner | Our Big Earth | February 6, 2012
- Rediscovering Our Neighbourhoods | The Foot's Eye View | Our Big Earth | February 8, 2012