Importance of children’s spaces
The world we live can be a cruel place to grow up in. We see many bad things in the news or some of us even witness it firsthand. There are many bad people in the world, who do awful things. Most of the times people tend to do awful things based on how and where they are raised. Nobody is born bad, racist, sexist etc. Every person is born optimistic yet, the place a child is raised in, what they see makes them into the person they are. The built environment I grew up on has taught me that a child’s space should be the most important place to a child’s development especially in poor communities.
Before anything, the kids in the poorest communities are the kids who tend to go in bad pathways. If anything, they are the priority of society. Growing up in the South Bronx has taught me that kids can go two ways, they can either strive to get out of the bad neighborhood they’re in or just stay and throw their lives away. According to the Impact of Poverty on Society “The number of children affected by poverty has been increasing since the 1960s. Children are those with the least amount choice and ability to change their circumstances.” Meaning nothing has been done for about 58 years. The numbers just keep rising and for most kids it’s harder for them to something about. This why the community needs to do its part and help. I’ve grown up in a poor environment and I don’t think enough is being done to help out these types of communities.
The Article also mentions that on an educational level, the kids from poor communities tend to be behind on their education. It states facts such as, “By the age of three, poorer children are estimated to be nine months behind children from wealthier backgrounds. By the end of primary school, students receiving free school meals are estimated to be about three terms behind their peers. By 14, this gap increases to over five terms.” Just by reading these three statistic , it proves that a children’s place is the most important place. The lack of attention the poor communities are getting cause of the social status puts them at a disadvantage at a young age and that’s not fair. More has to be done so the kids who do grow up in those neighborhoods don’t take bad steps. If people don’t see how important a child’s space is, they could do bad things just to get by in the future.
Another thing I learned from growing up in a poor environment is that, there isn’t many places for a kid to go and be safe and have fun. Of course there are many playgrounds and parks but in a poor community those places are filled with delinquents, who do bad things like steal, cut class, fight etc,. The fact is that those places that are supposed to be for children’s are just filled with people who took the bad path and it keeps happening. The kids who do end up spending their time in that park, become delinquents like the rest. And I’ve notice that this is where people don’t do anything about it.
Now what can people do to prevent things like this? As i mentioned a child’s space is the most important space. Every poor community should focus on building a place in their community where kids can go to hangout after school and it should be child friendly. Like the people who run the place should be there to motivate the kids to move forward and get out of the environment that they grew up in. If they do decide to come back, they should comeback to help the future generation, the way they were helped. Nobody really helped me but when I finish college, I’m going to help my community because I don’t want the kids who are going to grow here to make bad decisions.
David Brooks wrote an article called The Neighborhood Is The Unit Of Change, just by the name I agree with what he’s going to say, since I do think that the neighborhood is the place where a child develops his views on the world. In the article Brooks talks about how communities are important in the outcome of people’s lives. He mentions how when people have a place where they can gather, they are less likely to make bad decisions. He says “ Libraries nature relationships among people who check in on one another when crisis hits” This not only helps kids but others who are in a bad place and prevents them from making bad decisions. I do think that a community needs a place like a community center for kids to go to, to keep them out the streets. With that being said, I feel like if my community had something like that then my brothers could have still been in school or at least not make bad decisions.
Brooks also states “…that children who grow up in one neighborhood can have drastically different life outcomes than people who grew up in demographically similar neighborhoods nearby.” It basically means that people can live nearby each other and make different life choices. Like one neighborhood could have a place where kids can gather and the other might not. Now the kids who had that gathering place are most likely to have taken good steps compared to the kids who stayed on the streets because they don’t have any where else to go. Brooks wants to get people to open their eyes to a simple step into helping kids. One simple step is to have a place for kids to go to. He can’t express enough how a community need a place for people to gather so they don’t make decisions. This comes back to the point I’m trying to make which is, a child’s space should be the most important place to a child’s development.
Throughout the whole time, I’ve been talking about why a child space is important but i didn’t say what a child’s space can be. A child space can just be any place that will make kids interact with each other and make sure they aren’t making bad choices. Like a child space could be playground in a regular community but as mentioned before a poor community children’s playground is not child friendly. So a community center, a gym or even a club would be good for a child space. All that really matter is for the kids to be kept out the streets. In my experience both of my brothers grew up in the streets and they both became gangbangers. The only reason I didn’t become like that is because I didn’t hang out in the streets like they did. I would often sign myself up to after school programs. And my friends would to but the kids who didn’t sign themselves up made bad decisions. All of the people I went to elementary school with still lived in the same neighborhood. We all grew up in the same place and yet when i graduated, the other kids who i went to school with were either a high school dropout, in jail or a soon to be parent. This really made me open my eyes. I always wondered if me and the kids who grew up in my neighborhood had been in middle-class would things have been different. I honestly do think so since most of the kids who made bad decisions were smart, they just needed to stay out the streets. I don’t think many people see the importance of a child’s space and what it does to a child’s development. I think the people who don’t think a child space is important it must be because they didn’t see or experience what kids in poor communities do. Often the kids in these communities wish more was done to help.
Therefore, the built environment I grew up on has taught me that a child’s space should be the most important place to a child’s development especially in poor communities. If community leaders live in the communities that face poverty, they would see that the kids need help a place where they can go to have fun and learn what they need to do to live a successful life where they don’t have to constantly stress about getting by. I’m a kid who did grow up in a poor community, my family is poor, to have two older siblings that took the wrong paths and now they’re seeing it wasn’t the right choice. I have younger sister. I want her to follow my steps. I’m the first kid to go to college in my family and I do plan to be successful and one day give back to communities who need it. I will start by making child spaces because as I’ve said before a child’s development is impacted by a child’s space.