Julie Cole: The Baby Machine


Good Neighbours

The Many Reasons Why it Pays to Know Your Neighbours

Being a good neighbour is really important to me for various reasons.

First off, it comes easily - I’m chatty and ridiculously friendly. My children often apologize to people we meet, saying things like “Sorry about her, she talks to everyone!” When out for walks, I always make eye contact and greet passersby. When new neighbours move in, a little something is invariably dropped off. We welcome neighbourhood kids into our pool and love having them pile on the trampoline. Local parents have an online group and I keep the list updated and post news on our very own neighbourhood Facebook page.

Other than being friendly because it’s fun and feels good, there is another reason I am a good neighbour – it keeps my children safe. Knowing so many people in the neighbourhood means there are eyes all over this place watching out for my guys.

I like my kiddos to be outside and have no desire to follow them around on their bikes, rollerblades or adventures in the forest in a bid to keep them “safe”. Their latest activity is sneaking into the local golf course to find golf balls, polishing them up and selling them back to the golfers. Somehow my participation in that activity might cramp their style and break their entrepreneurial spirits. Besides, I gave up hawking golf balls back in 1986.

Childhood is a time for exploring, and I want my kids to do that freely without me hovering around making sure that they are OK all of the time. In fact, I want them to face tricky situations and figure out what to do. The reason they don’t have a cell phone is because I don’t want them calling me every time a kid falls off a bike or gets stuck up a tree. I want them to solve problems the old-fashioned way. Remember when you had to rely on someone other than your mom to bail you out or rescue you? Remember when you counted on your siblings, friends or a kind neighbour? Remember when your mother did her kiddo head count when the street lights came on? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

So be a good neighbour. Make yours a family of friendly and familiar faces so that your kids are recognizable to the people they live among. It brings me great peace of mind knowing that folks are keeping an eye out for my kiddos while I keep an eye out for theirs. It’s just what neighbours do.

Bunch of the local girlies playing hockey at a neighbour’s backyard rink.