The kids are alright

One of my neighbors is a good neighbor. His goodness is in the fact that he actively does good, as opposed to the definition of “good” being “doesn’t give trouble.” He picks up trash on the sidewalk, not just in front of his house but on our whole block. When he is so inspired, he’ll take the trash pick up to another adjoining block. He works for a non-profit do-gooder organization, that allows him to go to far off lands to spread the good. This winter he and I shoveled our block. He’s a fascinating guy to talk with, good humored and most of the time good natured.
He’s mentioned his father, when I’ve asked or we’ve talked about why he does what he does, in passing. And one day I came upon one of his dad’s lectures on iTunes University, where his father speaks of my neighbor and his brothers as kids. Which is interesting, because many of us come from somewhere else, so we tend to only know our neighbors as their adult selves, with very little knowledge of what they were like as kids, teens, very young adults.
Anyway, my neighbors father is Raymond Bakke, a professor of urban studies/urban ministry, who has some ideas about city living. One of the ideas (of several) that I found a bit hard core was raising children in a poor urban environment. No private schools, no home schooling. And so my neighbor went to the tough Chicago schools, including High School. Bakke advocates for strong parental involvement. As far as making up for what the public schools lack, he suggests extra enrichment classes. Taking what parents may have spent on private school, he points out, those same funds could go to family trips abroad, books, lessons and other experiences that would enrich their children.
The children that Prof. Bakke mentions in his books and lectures are grown now, and I am honored one lives on my block. My neighbor is a product of urban family living, and it seems that the kids are alright.
… next week more grousing from me about bad teenagers.