It takes a village ...
To the Editor:
We have been fortunate to be able to raise our four boys in Westerville. We moved to this community when our oldest was just over a year old. We have lived in the same house for over 15 years. We love our neighbors and our neighborhood.
We are also fortunate to have a subdivision close to us that has a beautiful pond stocked with turtles, frogs, fish and other exciting pond life. Since the boys were little, we enjoyed "exploring" and learning about the pond and its wildlife. As they got older, they enjoyed fishing -- catching and releasing of course. They respected their pond privileges and always were careful with the animals they found.
As any parent knows, from any generation, when your children choose to pass time outside, doing a harmless activity, excitement ensues. My children and their friends were opting to fish over television, video games, and computer games.
Unfortunately, recently, several signs appeared around the pond stating that fishing could only be done by subdivision residents. At first I was angry and then, just sad. In the beginning, the boys and their friends didn't notice the signs and the things that were said to them were inexcusable. They were degraded and threatened by people three to five times their age. As hard as it is for the boys, we have all taken note of the signs and will respect the community's wishes.
I think as we get older we tend to forget what it was like to be a parent and to be a child. My hope as I grow older and become an "empty nester" is to ... remember.
And if my yearly community dues, whatever they may be, offer a harmless activity for the children in my area, good for me and good for them. I hope that what I offer those children is a place to have fun, be a kid, meet a friend and to get away, even if for a short time, from the pressures of growing up.
I hope when I'm older I offer to these children only the beginning of a conversation, "Have you caught anything today?" And I walk away, smiling, knowing my community dues and my community pond have given a few children a fun, harmless, summer afternoon adventure. It takes a village to raise a child.