A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

There are so many reasons that being a parent is a wonderful thing. A lot of the moments I appreciate are ones in which I am observing my daughter from afar, watching her play by herself or engage with other people. One of the observations that I have made is that she effortlessly communicates with people across culture, gender, and age. She finds a way to engage with them on their level while still staying true to her authentic help. I sincerely hope that she finds a way to hold on to this incredible skill. I know that it will serve her well in her life.

Our neighborhood offers our family many opportunities to engage with individuals from other cultures. We live on Denver’s southwest side, an area with a heavy immigrant population. Most of the immigrants in our area are from Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia. There is also a heavy sprinkling of white, black, and Latino families that are Americans by birth. This is one of the reasons I love our neighborhood so much. All of the amazing ethnic food restaurants don’t hurt either!

We live on a block that is representative of the diversity I referenced above. We have several elderly neighbors, several families with children who speak English, and several families with children who do not speak English. We do our best to be neighborly and friendly with all of them because that is the kind of block we want to live on.

We are closer with some of our neighbors than others and we communicate with those individuals on a very friendly and familiar level, we even have them over for dinner! I speak a bit of Spanish, so I take the opportunity to practice it with my Spanish-speaking neighbors when we talk. However, I usually speak English with the children because I know that they are leaning English in public school.

My daughter approaches everyone in the neighborhood the same way. She is friendly and talkative. She stops to talk to various neighbors as she rides her scooter up and down the block. I think that i could get to know my neighbors even better if I took more walks in the neighborhood and stopped to talk to folks sitting outside their houses. Usually, I just wave at them.

For a while now I have wanted to take refresher Spanish classes. This would help me communicate better with some of my neighbors and help us feel more comfortable with one another. I know that the more I talk to my neighbors the more we will develop a caring and supportive community. I would like to improve our communication by being better about inviting our neighbors to gatherings at our home.

If everyone on the block does a little bit to improve communication, we could go a long way towards creating a close-knit community in our little corner of the big city. What do you to facilitate community in your neighborhood?

Fred Rogers

~ by vegucationmama on September 21, 2014.

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