The other day I had someone question our decision to move to a rougher neighborhood...
They were asking specifically about the effects on our children. They were expressing concerns that we would need to be very careful on the West Side with regard to who we let influence them. They were trying to explain that the poorer kids just wouldn't be as good of an influence as the kids in our nicer neighborhood.
Within one week of my friend's comments the following two things happened:
1 My son Zane was playing with three white, middle-class, older kids in the Elmwood Village (the nice neighborhood) and was roughed up by three kids who ganged up on him.
2 My son Zane was playing soccer with a dozen or so older, impoverished, Somali and Yemeni kids on a vacant lot on the West Side (the bad neighborhood). These kids regularly play soccer with my son, and when they do, they make sure that he gets the ball, and they make sure he gets a chance to shoot on goal, they sometimes even let him score. They always tell him what a great job he is doing on the field...
So what do I take from this?
Every place is broken, and every place is beautiful.