We've been planning all month to write this post today about how much young children enjoy getting to know their neighborhoods and befriending their neighbors. The topic of preschoolers and neighborhoods makes us think -- how could it not? -- of Mister Rogers and his unforgettable song " Won't You Be My Neighbor?" (If you haven't heard this in a while, do click through and listen via the PBS site -- what a lovely song, what a wise man.)
And then we realized, aha! there's the title for today's post -- perfect. Think no further. Mister Rogers always lets his friends borrow.
But wouldn't you know ... a pesky little newspaper called The New York Times went and stole our title!! (Or rather, Mister Rogers' title.) We'd really be miffed, except that the offending piece is actually a wonderful, must-read op-ed in yesterday's paper about the loss of neighborliness in America. The author, Peter Lovenheim, was so distressed about the lack of community in his local area that he began cold calling his neighbors to ask if he could please come for a sleepover at their house in order to get to know them. Crazy? Like we said -- read it.
Of course, we can't in good conscience recommend sleepovers with unknown neighbors for your preschoolers. But then again, the little ones don't need any such gimmicks, do they? As the routine-minded and locally-oriented creatures that they are, young kids are as drawn to learning about their own neighborhoods as they are to understanding themselves. Mister Rogers knew that.
So let's follow our children's lead once more, and together get to know our neighborhoods better than we ever have. Here are a few Tuesday tips for doing so:
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