Impact Of The Suburbs: Are ‘Big Houses’ And A ‘Better Life’ Causing A Slow Divide?

By Lana Moline

I grew up in New Orleans, the 8th ward to be exact.  The house where I lived for the majority of my childhood still remains, the most beautiful house I have ever seen.  My room was nestled diagonally between my sister and brother’s rooms and it was almost entirely pink except for the Michael Jordan and Prince posters on the walls.  What can I say?  It was the 80’s.

My high school was about a mile away from my house and every evening I walked home with some friends who to this day I still smile and laugh about how much fun we had walking home.  I lived on one of the busiest streets, which worked out well when I needed to get to the store quickly or I just had to have a po’boy.  The fact that the bus ran non-stop in front of my house didn’t matter, it just made it that much easier for me to get around.  I could go to the world-famous Canal Street to shop and take practically any bus back home.  I spent hours outside either roller skating, jumping rope or riding my bike.  In fact, my best friend and I lived 4 blocks apart and we would meet up halfway (Popeyes) and then walk back to either her house or mine where we visited for hours.  Those were good times and those were also times that prepared me for navigating through relationships before the conveniences of modern technology and the numerous ways we connect today.

Last week my husband and I set out to enjoy lunch together but was quickly diverted because of a flat tire.  Unhitching the tire from our SUV took a little longer than we expected so we walked over to a nearby business to access the wi-fi.  In that 3-minute walk, we reminisced about our childhood and how we felt connected to a community because we interacted more with neighbors, we walked more and just overall got out a lot more.  In that short period of time I imagined my kids’ comfort level in this same scenario and immediately thought about how different their experience is from mine.

As parents, we try really hard to give our kids all the things we never have but I think sometimes we discount some of the things we did have.  I learned the importance of people skills by existing intimately in my community growing up.  I learned survival skills and the difference between tough times and growing pains.  Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to God for what He has provided and the security my kids rest on.  I just wonder, from that perspective, how their childhood experience will translate over into adulthood.  When I look at the fact that my grandparents lived near their family, yet my parents moved to a neighboring city to raise their kids and we moved several hundred miles further away, I can’t help but think that all the construction, gated communities and sub-divisions costs us a little bit.

 Lana Moline is an integral part of the writing team, freelance writer and poet who lives in Ft. Worth with her three kids and husband Emile. Married 11 years, both media professionals have vowed to maintain integrity in all aspects of print and broadcast journalism.Visit her atLana Moline Speaks.

2 replies
  1. Neysa
    Neysa says:

    I so feel you! I actually stopped some of the kids activities because we spent soo much time in our car. I wanted our kids to be able to ride a bike, play with neighbors, catch lightning bugs w/o stress. So I understand being thankful for what we have, but I miss the family being so close.

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