I am sure by now everyone is familiar with the horrid story of Frank Lombard, Duke University Professor, accused of pimping his own adopted son.
So far the news media is giving us these details:
Frank is gay, and lived with his gay partner.
Frank had two adopted children, both black.
Frank lived in a cohousing community, Eno Commons Cohousing.
Frank attended an Episcopal church.
I want to just look at Eno Commons, as a cohousing community, and some of its attitudes toward children.
Then you can decide for yourself if this environment facilitated Mr. Lombard.
Paradise for Children
Children learn what they live. Our children are learning about independence, inter-dependence, diversity, ecology, consensus, and how to be good neighbors in a supportive community through their every day experiences. From the time they decide to participate at the age of two or three, children can help make some of the community rules. They clear their places at community meals, leave their shoes on all of our porches, run through the meadow (or more likely around Sam and Margaret's yard) with their friends, get homework help from all of us, follow animal tracks through the woods, or choose to be alone. (The neighborhood is good for parents too - we spend a lot less time in our cars by pooling rides and not having to takes kids to as many play dates.)
There is nothing wrong with neighbors that trust each other, and children visiting their friends houses and leaving their shoes all over the neighborhood. Under normal circumstances though, this happens after the adults get to know their neighbors and trust them. Moving into a community that promises this to strangers breaks down any natural defenses the adults might bring. Intentional or not, it grooms the parents to not be suspicious of any wrong doing.
- We provide our children with opportunities to develop their full potential in a safe, caring neighborhood.
- We treat our children with love and respect and expect them to be active, positive
contributors to our community.
- We listen to our children’s ideas and recognize their need for good friends and
playmates, friendly neighbors, fun places to play, and appropriate community and
Well, we know how these lofty ideals turned out. (Does this remind anyone else of some of the unparenting rhetoric?) This is a small community of a mere 22 houses on 11 acres. The community has a Common House, where residents meet at least once a week to dine together. The whole point of this community is to create openness, interconnectedness and trust. To let the village raise the child. "They stand as innovative answers to today's environmental and social problems."
Then it gets downright creepy.
'Secret Pal' brings neighbors together. (Click on "cached")
(This link only exists in Yahoo cache now, though just this afternoon it was still active on Eno Commons servers. Go figure.)
Seven years ago Suzanne started the Secret Pal week tradition to celebrate Valentine's Day at Eno Commons.
The goal of Secret Pal week is to promote interaction between adults and kids. Adults are asked to volunteer to be a secret pal and are matched with a child. During the week leading up to Valentine's Day, the adults give their secret pal children little gifts and clues, but the adults keep their identity a secret. At the end of the week, the kids prepare the brunch.
It is fun watching the kids huddling together trying to guess who their secret pal is. Can you think of a better way to connect kids with adults?
Well? Can you? Can you think of any better way to connect KIDS with ADULTS than to have secret pal exchanges . . . on VALENTINE'S Day?
Valentine's Day? Are you kidding?
Wait, isn't Valentine's Day for LOVERS? Maybe.
Our Vision For Eno Commons
• We welcome residents of all ages, races, religious beliefs, and affectional
"Affectional Preferences" is quite a different thing from "Sexual Orientation".
Valentine's Day, however, celebrated with Adult-Child Secret Pal celebrations is a yearly event (click on the "Cached" link on the first search return) at Eno Commons.
Now, you might ask, where did this, um, tradition come from?
It seems to be a favored practice of the Unitarian Universalists.
They celebrate it in Midland Texas, Gainesville Florida, and California. The position of the Unitarian Universalist Church is well known with regards to those of minority sexual orientation.
Did interconnectedness go to far?