My comment to Malcolm's blog post:
Thanks Malcolm ... I believe everyone understands the reality of different worlds (communities). And we want to see our kids 'street smart' to the ways of the world ... but we want to live in the peace and comfort of our own homes.
As an x-cop, I left a big urban centre everyday to draw the shades of what I had witnessed and returned home to my family 'in the country'. The cost of that commute is measured in different ways. The kids got their 'street smarts' in different ways too. And all turned out pretty well. - Len
I was showing a client some houses the other day. We came across one house that had security bars on the windows and a stick that jammed the back door shut. The client asked whether we were in a bad neighbourhood. We weren't really, the vendor of this house was probably just a little more security conscious than your average citizen.
Trenton is a pretty small community, maybe about 20,000 people. In essence, the whole town is one neighbourhood. Sure, there are streets and even small areas of the town that are more aesthetically pleasing than others because the houses are a little more upscale, newer, or better tended to, but when you live in Trenton, you'll never be too far away from people who are economically disadvantaged.
This situation can be a little disheartening to some people, and they end up buying their retirement home in a more upscale community. Trenton just doesn't have the "small town" atmosphere that they were seeking. It's certainly not a Norman Rockwell painting. Quaint it aint, and that's O.K. with me.
One of the advantages of living in a town like this is the benefit that my children have derived from it. You would be very hard pressed to find two less judgemental souls on this planet. They have grown up with the same group of friends their whole lives, and those friends include kids from all points along the economic spectrum. Some of their friends have grown up in trailer parks, while others come from the multi million dollar homes on Rednersville Road. If you were to watch those kids in a group, you would never know who was who. They have learned to judge each other on their merits as human beings, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all.
Obviously there will be situations that they will have to learn to be wary of as they get older (and as their dad I'm pretty certain that there already have been situations that I'd rather not know about), but I'm sure that their exposure to different lifestyles will stand them in good stead when they are adults. I would really hate to see the "gated community" trend take hold in this neck of the woods as it has in the States. I don't think it will (mostly because of our more sensible gun culture), but there already is that division in the larger urban centres. It's a shame.
People tend to gravitate towards others who appear to be similar to them. Usually these similarities are on a very superficial level though. Living in a small town like Trenton has enabled me to see that. I don't have the luxury of being selective about who is around me in my daily life, and I'm glad for that. I would have missed a lot of the good people that surround me every single day.