Saturday, September 8, 2012

Getting the kid of out the box

I had a great conversation the other day about why "A Place in Mound" is my passion. My friend and I discussed our children's schools situations, including budget's and the subjects they studied. We talked about the issues our kids will be facing they will be growing up, including violence, and drugs. This led to us sharing our dreams for our children, and how they will deal with those issues when they face them.

One of my goals for my children is to have them be independent and self sufficient. Every time my children ask me "Why is the sky blue, or how does a boat go", I turn it around and ask them what they think the answer is, and then we discuss what the right answer might be. Every time they say they are bored and want me to turn on the TV I refuse and they know they have to find something to do on their own. Our children are now old enough, and responsibile enough to go to the park across the street and play on their own, unfortunately there are rarely playmates out there.

Crosswalk at Wilshire and Maywood, by Shirley Hills School and the Mound Fire/Police building. The sign says this is a safe place to cross, but everything else tells us otherwise.  Ccrosswalks are on only two sides of this busy corner and sidewalk and path are on only one side of the street on Wilshire.

In a few years, if my children want to go to a friend's house to play, I want them to be able to get there on their own. If I need a cup of sugar from a neighbor, I want my child to run and get it. And eventually, if we need something from a local business, I want to be able to send my child to walk or bike to the local grocery store to get it.

Too many of us keep our kids in boxes. We keep them safe in the house, we buckle them safely in the vehicle, and drive them everywhere, where we cling to their hands as we cross parking lots until we are safe inside another box, be it a school or store. What do our kids learn about their community when being lugged around in this fashion? I think they learn that the world is a place to fear, that strangers are dangerous and to be avoided, and that streets are for cars.

Crosswalk on Shoreline Dr is being rebuilt so bicyclist have to slow down. We are told the priorities here are safety,  but we are also being told it's more important for cars not to have to slow down and worry about bicyclists and walkers. 
This is what "A Place in Mound" is about. It's about creating worthwhile places for my family to go, and safe ways to get there. It's about giving people options when they step out of their house. Taking a stroll or biking down Tuxedo, or many of Mound's Boulevards, it is clear you are not the priority.  In fact, you feel like you're in the way, and are causing a problem. The citizens of Mound deserve safe opportunities and RIGHTS to use our streets in the fashion that they choose.

Streets are not just for cars, they are for everybody.