Another Halloween went by marked by editorials and conversations with friends and coworkers about how unsafe walking the neighborhood on the holiday might be. In addition, many friends talked about how convenient it was for them to take their goblins trick or treating in malls or stores instead of the neighborhood. This compels me to write about the real danger facing American families, and especially kids, today: not knowing, or caring who your neighbors are.
At a potluck several years ago, a Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy assured our gathering the best defense against neighborhood crime is not a fancy security system, but a nosy neighbor. Despite all the media hype, there is little evidence that children are harmed by adults in most neighborhoods, but ample evidence that across America they are imminently threatened by a lack of adults in their lives.
If we are serious about protecting our kids, we’ll forego the convenience and tidiness of closing our doors and open ourselves to the sometimes messy, rewarding connections essential to healthy human development.
The malls didn’t get our little goblins this year. We are grateful for the wonderful neighbors who put keep the pumpkins lit, the candy basket full and the conversation going.
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