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August 26, 2008

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I agree. I think in the story Julia told on REDBOOK, she and her neighbors don't really seem to have a "community" that includes this new man. And being rural, maybe they feel that developing a functional relationship with him will be too difficult, especially if it starts off with such a negative experience. So they've considered just throwing in the towel and calling the authorities. It is sad that so many of Julia's commenters have followed this path.

The first neighborhood we lived in as a young married couple was older, full of bungalows with front porches. We saw our neighbors often and had relationships with almost all of them. In my new neighborhood, full of ranch houses, no one comes out their front door. I know everyone who walks dogs like I do, but almost none of the kids around our house. How can I feel connected to my neighbors? I work at it, but I don't get the feeling that many others do. I have come to feel that one of the major problems of the current day is people being so disconnected from a community of neighbors.

It does "take a village" to raise a family. But now you have to create the village!

I agree, 100%. We've lived in our current home for almost 2 years. When our new puppy was behaving in an unruly manner (wandering around in neighbor's yards, running in the road) we received an anonymous note in our mail box, threatening to call animal control on us.
On the other hand, we never had any of these neighbors stop by our home when we moved in. No one introduced themselves, or made an effort to make us feel welcome. Just the note, and a threat.
How sad. I remember when I was a child and we moved into a new house. The neighbors came over for coffee and brought us a pie.
What are we coming to?

Before I read the (first 10) comments on that story, I admit I was thinking, "Holy cow! Those kids do not sound safe in that guy's care!" But then I started reading, saw all the "CALL CPS NOW!" comments, and I had to back up and consider the better choice of talking to him first.

Someone suggested in the comments there that if he's newly divorced, perhaps he's new to being the primary caregiver. Being mindful of his recently changed situation really should inform how people react to a single decision on his part, shouldn't it? But, as has been pointed out, we're all so reluctant to talk to one another that we'd rather volunteer someone else to do it for us, and I think CPS must be the first thing people think of. Pity.

Amy, it makes so much sense to me that having a new set of responsibilities along with a new custody arrangement would play a role in the dad's decision. That's what I was thinking about when I said up above that developing parenting judgment takes time.

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