In a 2013 piece, The Stories That Bind Us, New York Times’ columnist, Bruce Feiler, reported that psychologists have discovered the single greatest predictor of resiliency in children is the presence of a strong family narrative.
“The bottom line,” Feiler writes, is “if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.”
I think the same is true for neighborhoods. Our neighborhoods thrive or wither, in large part, by the stories we tell about them. So as 2013 draws to a close I’m taking a moment to remember a year in the life of my neighborhood, Barrio Versalles—celebrating the best days and qualities and honoring the worst. I invite you to do the same; take a few moments before the year ends to say thanks for all of it.
Long live our neighborhoods — resilient and healthy and home.
A neighborhood that knows how to celebrate.
Full of ingenuity.
Families who have lived here generation upon generation.
Weathering storm after storm.
Answering darkness with light.
Children safe on our street.
Dancing when it rains on the hottest day.
The street where we chat.
The market that feeds us.
All the parades.
The gang of rowdy five year old boys.
The smallest marching band.
Surviving the gas leak.
The perseverance of the striking miners.
And the mango man.
Siblings walking one another to school.
So many unexpected wonders —
May there be millions more.