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One rotten apple doesn’t need to spoil the entire bushel.

Neighbor is asking for association to create a rule to restrict children from playing outside around their homes.

Growing up, we had a neighbor who would come outside and yell at us to keep off his lawn. Then he would watch us from his living room window to make sure we stayed off his lawn. I remember my parents telling us that our neighbor spent a lot of time making sure his lawn was very nice and that we should respect that and stay off the lawn. So, we did, well as best as kids running around a neighborhood can be expected to remember to stay off the neighbor’s lawn.

Now as a parent, I find myself faced with a similar situation. However, this time the answer is not as simple as the one my parents gave me to just stay off the neighbor’s lawn.

In my neighborhood, there are 7 kids that get on the bus together in the morning and off the bus together in the afternoon. My son is one of those kids. After school, all of the kids love to play together outside until it’s time for dinner. There is, at the very least one parent outside keeping an eye on the kids. More often than not there are two parents looking out for the kids as they play. These are good kids who like to ride their bikes and scooters, run around chasing each other
and use their imaginations to make up new games to play. After playtime is
over, everyone goes in for dinner and homework.

One of my neighbors, however, is less than thrilled when the bus arrives each afternoon delivering nuisance children back to his block. This neighbor, we’ll call ‘Grinch’, had asked the parents that we keep the kids quiet while playing outside. Being good neighbors, we asked the kids to not shout so much and try to be quieter especially when playing near the ‘Grinch’s’ home.

Nothing further was said on the matter, so we thought that any issue there was had been resolved until the recent newsletter from our association was received. At the end of the newsletter was a paragraph asking parents to refrain from allowing their children to play outside and instead take the children to a park to play because, after all, that is what parks are for. The ‘Grinch’ was asking for a
rule to be made severely restricting any playtime outside for the neighborhood
kids.  As more and more neighbors read the newsletter, the majority of them came outside as the kids were playing to assure me that the kids were well behaved and to forget about the comments in the newsletter. We all knew who had complained to the association and who was asking for the ‘no play rule’ to be written.

As a parent and former child, I understand that there will always be people who do not share in the joy of playing with kids or letting kids be kids. Right now we are telling the kids at school, on billboards and on television to go outside and move around and play. Unless you are ignoring it, I am sure you have heard of at
least one initiative focused on getting kids up and moving for 30 to 60 minutes
of play each day. So, I am bothered by the fact that one individual in our
neighborhood seems to think that the neighborhood kids are ‘bad’, for running
around and playing outside. It makes me sad to think that knowing how good it
is for kids to play together outside in their neighborhood, allowing them to
feel a part of a community, get some exercise and fresh air, and make friends that they will remember for the rest of their lives, that one person wants to take
that away from our children. On the other hand, it makes me very happy to see
the rest of the neighbors rallying around the kids and encouraging them to
continue playing outside.

This is one case where one rotten apple or neighbor as the case may be, did not spoil the rest of the bushel. I hope everyone can enjoy some time outside today and say ‘Hi’ to your neighbors while you are out there.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Catherine October 10, 2012 at 03:12 PM
The neighbor should move if the "noise" is so upsetting. Perhaps Del Webb would be more suitable to the neighbor. In my neighborhood we also have a neighbor who lives across the street from a park and still yells at the kids for being too loud. Get a life.
Brad Faxton October 10, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Omg - I can't believe I am reading what you are writing. Kids live to play, happy kids play and healthy kids play outside. I think that Mr Grumpy need to lighten up or just get over it. Clearly Mr Grumpy is in the wrong neighborhood.
Dee October 10, 2012 at 07:02 PM
First I thought this article is the stupidest thing I ever read until I read your comment. Face it, Mr. Grinch leads a very boring life and seeks out things to complain about. You cannot restrict kids from playing inside. If parents allow their kids to break curfew or allow them to do something wrong, then you turn to your HOA. Let kids be kids, life is short.
csb507 October 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I lived in Grayslake for over 30 years, moved recently and could not tell you the names of the neighbors I left. It is refreshing to hear of a neighborhood where the kids actually play together and the neighbors talk-Mr.Grinch-get a life or move-don't discourage interactive play. I was very lonely raising my kids in a "no play zone"
Sandra Sims October 11, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I live in a neighborhood where the kids play outside all the time. I love the sound of it. I love the idea that they are out running around, making up games, and getting fresh air and exercise instead of sitting on the couch with a video game. As long as they aren't throwing baseballs through my windows, everything is fine. Unless you are living in a senior housing subdivision, there are going to be kids, and kids make noise. Get over it or move. I doubt the HOA is going to actually make it a rule that kids can't play outside. The HOA is made up of residents, and they come up for election. If they do, mobilize. One intolerant idiot can't dictate to the whole neighborhood. Good luck!

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