Street Smarts: What’s That?

There are generally two broad categories of smart: street smart, and book smart. I believe that we all have a little bit of both, but one has tended to become more prominent, in our children. For instance, everyone used to know you do NOT get into a car with a stranger, but now even that is changing. We have car pools, Uber, and school buses. My grandfather used to tell me about how he had to walk to school, and it was uphill both ways. He talks about how he and his friends would play on their street. When he got an after school job, he walked there. He was allowed to even have a paper route in the morning. 11 year olds can still legally deliver newspapers, but I know that most parents would freak out, if their child obtained a work permit to deliver newspapers. My parental figures were freaking out when I as an 18 year old adult was asked to work for a company which goes door to door selling knives. I am an adult, just imagine the response if I was a child. The fact of the matter that parental figures, have been keeping children from exploring, and making their own mistakes. Mistakes, whether we like them or not, ultimately helps us learn, and grow. With the limitations being told to us like, “don’t talk to strangers,” or “check in every hour,” “if someone asks for directions in a car don’t go near them,” we are being told to fear our community, and not to trust the adults in our neighborhood, which is the opposite of what we need, and want in a community (Francis & Lorenzo 5). There is a beautiful circle in the middle of my street, which has a basket ball hope on the right side. Originally there was not a basketball hoop, but a bunch of kids got together there everyday after school, before I moved in. One of the moms on the right side of the circle, asked them why they just stood there instead of playing in the yard. The overall consensus was that yards were confining, and the street allowed them to see all of their friends. She kept trying to get them to move. First she bought a basketball hoop and put it in her drive way. They did not want to move, but they liked playing basketball, so they would bring a ball, and shoot hoops until more than three people showed up then they would go to the circle. She was bewildered, and ultimately gave in and moved the basketball hoop to the circle. This lead to them playing basketball, instead of just standing around, which made her feel better, and the kids ended up having a ton of fun. Sometime a chosen place, is chosen for a reason. Instead of trying to get the kids to move because she didn’t like the loitering, she should have asked them how to make it more interactive, so that the kids would do something, instead of loitering.

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