Communities have very different philosophies about kids and whether they are trying to recruit their own children to be members. When Hawina and Willow and i visited Tobias’s brother at his large secular community in Fussen Germany, we were amazed at how different their relationship with their kids were.
At Fussen, lots of young kids spend most of their time with each other, with adult supervision, of course, but there are lots of kids and not many adults near by. As the children grow up, the community puts more and more energy into them. When they reach the age of 16 they become “new comers” and the community puts some of its best minds and hearts into finding the right work, social scene and experience for their kids. Not surprisingly, nearly 100% of the kids at Fussen decide to stay in their community after they become adults.
Twin Oaks uses almost the opposite approach. Parents of very little kids are given large child care budgets (ones which make the Scandinavian countries, most generous in the industrial world in paternity and maternity benefits, look miserly). There are lots of one on one attention, supported by community budgets, for very little kids. As the children grow up, Twin Oaks feels it needs to put less labor (tho somewhat more money) into raising kids and the parents and children can connect as they please w/o community support. Nearly 100% of the Twin Oaks children leave when the reach 18 or finish high school (which ever is later).
Elijah is different. Elijah has lived at Twin Oaks nearly his entire life and he likes it here. Over the last couple of years we have been significantly increasing his quota (our kids have small work obligations to the community, mostly we encourage them to complete their schooling).
Elijah moved into his first adult room about a week ago, out of the building with his mom and sister. After he had settled he swung by our mutual friend, Bochie and invited us to come over and see his “crib”.
I was curious as to what he had built. So we wandered over to the room, which was Roberto’s before he moved to Tupelo and thus i had known it pretty well. It appeared largely unchanged to me, certainly no new construction i could see
“Where is the crib?” i asked
Everyone started laughing at me. Apparently “crib” in a hip language i am not trained in means the place where you live. Okay, i appear to have missed this one.