When I was child I remember whenever someone new moved in our neighborhood my mom would always bake them a casserole or bring them a coffee cake. We would stop by to say hi and welcome them into the neighborhood. They would be invited over for coffee. They would be welcomed into the neighborhood circle. We'd get the scoop on where they were from and get to know each other. They were invited in to the bowling league.
Summers were spent outside. The parents all brought out their lawn chairs at 7 pm and sat around gossiping around a million citronella candles. The children played midnight tag, kick the can, and caught lightning bugs. We swam, we rode bikes, and we played outside all day. We went fishing together at the lake. Kids were piled up in cars with one parent to go to park. You always had someone to go outside and play with. We didn't play video games or take them with us whenever we somewhere. You were never bored.
You could go where you wanted. There was someone you knew on every street. Every parent watched out for every kid. If you were doing something bad someone knew about it and so would your parents by the end of the day. There was always someones parent willing to watch you at the local pool. If a parent wasn't around there was always an older brother or sister there to look out for us. You could be a mile away and still be safe.
There was no daycare that I knew of. If your parents worked either your grandparents or a neighbor watched you. If you got sick at school there was always someone willing to come and pick you up if your parents couldn't. When your parents had to go out for an evening they could find a reliable babysitter. Even if you were left alone you knew you were safe because your mom let the neighbors know they leaving for a little while. There was always someone there. You were never alone.
When I look back on my childhood I remember all those great things about my neighborhood. We don't have that anymore. Neighbors live next to each other for years and barely wave to each other. People don't stop by to welcome you to the neighborhood and there's no trust. Summer nights are spent inside with your family. There's not kids everywhere chasing lightning bugs. There's no happy squeals when they get them. No jars getting filled. No midnight tag. No night walks. This makes me sad. Sad my kids won't get to enjoy the world I did. I'm sad that we're so busy worrying someone might hurt us, we aren't out there meeting the people that won't. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but we don't live in a village anymore.