I miss the olden days. You know, the olden days like 20 years ago. Life seemed different then. You belonged to a community, a neighborhood. There was no such thing as "play dates". Kids went outside and played. You did not have to drive cross town to visit with a friend. People looked out for each other and for each others kids. People supported each other, rather than criticizing each other. The people in your neighborhood were part of your extended family. At some point in the last 20 years, the neighborhood has succumbed to death.

What killed the neighborhood?

Is it the fact that more mothers are working now than they were then and therefore there are less eyes on the streets?

Is it the fact that there are more "crazies" out there (or the fact that now we know about them), so that we fear letting our children play like we did growing up?

Is it the fact that we have over scheduled our kids and ourselves, so there is no time to belong to a community?

Is it the internet? Does it give us enough sense of community, without actually having to come face to face with anyone?

Is it the fear of being criticized? Of not being the perfect mom, or the cool enough dad?

Is it because, in effect, we have no idea what our mothers (or fathers) did with their time, therefore we do not know how they created that community? All we know is that we left in the morning, came home by dinner, and knew that if we messed up, somehow our parents would know about it.

Is it suburban sprawl and the fact that our neighborhoods have become much less "walkable"?

Mind you, most (not all) of these developments over the past 20 years are good things. It is good that mothers are given more opportunities. It is wonderful that we know more about those around us to keep our children safe. In addition, I know that I for one could not imagine a life without the internet. But in reality, all of these things did in fact play a part in the death of the neighborhood.

Furthermore, what, if anything, can be done about it? Can we rebuild what has been lost: a sense of community, a sense of pride, a sense of extended family?

I pose you these questions.