By: Zaida Grunes (Manhattan’s Peak)
As parents, we don’t always have to agree on how we raise our kids. What works for some, probably won’t work for others. It’s like that saying—not all kids are cast in the same mold, because then that would be weird. Wouldn’t it?
But what happens when some parents impose their beliefs on other parents, are completely against those that don’t agree with their tactics, and defy the idea of community building by limiting themselves to their “family circles”?
Our reader and hyper-local diarist, Zaida Grunes, understands this much too well. She recently wrote this letter to her neighborhood’s community forum, Inwood Kids, on how “fear-mongering” kills the sense of community/neighborly love that every child deserves.
Dear Parents of Inwood Kids
My open letter to a closed local parenting listserv called “Inwood Kids.”
Lots of Inwood Parents (not on this listserv, or who have quit), are scared of “Inwood Kids.”
I’ve signed on here to respectfully disagree, and be voice to those parents who don’t want “Inwood Kids drama” because they have a different viewpoint.
Grandparents (older generation adults) teaching our children chess in our local playgrounds is a inner-city urban tradition. For those not born and raised in the city, this might seem like a foreign concept, and understandably so. Just to put it out there from the start: I am a Free Range Parent.
I have taught my child (going on 17) the necessary street smarts to successfully and confidently navigate the city, with AND without me. I am a strong proponent for raising independent children. And when my toddler twins are old enough, I will be sending them to Inwood Hill Park, alone, and hope that there is a caring, attentive individual sitting at a chess table, willing to give my kids their time and patience to teach them not only a game, but a skill.
Community building is about embracing every neighbor, regardless of parenting styles, preferences, religion, race, gender, hell – have orgies all you want if that’s your thing. But surely it is about unity in spirit, and not attacking, criticizing, or bulldozing other parents because they have a different viewpoint/style.
Again, respectfully, I disagree with lots of the fear-mongering that occurs on this listserv, and am pretty vocal about it via my blog/twitter…. But I refuse to quit being a member, mostly because I inherently believe that we are all great, well-intentioned parents doing our best every minute of everyday.
I would just prefer not to have your viewpoints shoved down my throat in such a confrontational manner on this forum (i.e. cap locks, exclamation points, strong insistent language, etc.)
“If people aren’t supposed to talk to strangers, how do we make friends?” — my just about to turn 17 year old, reading over my shoulder this morning as I typed this.
Our online twitter community has been following the chess players story very closely. In fact, it was group of local Inwoodite tweeples who raised hell on behalf of them, and brought it to international media attention. I will post additional links to this story under a new thread.
Zaida Grunes “Free Range Mama,” who is grateful for the tradition of abuelitos teaching her kids (Ryan – 17, Gabriel & Stella – 19 mos) chess. For more on her adventures, visit her blog—Manhattan’s Peak, or catch up on her tweets @manhattanspeak.