2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Research Design
2.2. Thick Description
3.1. When and Where: Context
I think it is more of an attitude of not worrying and making sure that our kids have exposure to as much as we can expose them to, you know, not trying to sequester them too much in a controlled and exclusive environment, which is one reason they have always gone to public school and one reason we lived downtown. The last thing in the world we would want is them and us to be imprisoned in some sort of gated community. We are very much against that. I mean, we don’t like it. We want to meet different people.
“I had some concern about the creek being not clean, the water, but I wanted there to be more creeks and more options since this was really the only one around. I was looking for places like the creek, and we didn’t have enough of them. The free places for kids to play, and there was very little public land, very little non-private land for the kids to play in here, and they were always being chased off, property, so I thought it was a real gift to have the creek for them to play in. They had so much fun and created these lifelong bonds that any kind of risk, health risk, I am hoping is not that great.”
“It’s funny I’m not a germaphobe and never have been. In fact, I do feel like it’s important to be exposed to more [germs] because if you’re not you’re gonna get more sick. And we’re lucky, I mean, at least as far as I knew. I hadn’t seen any major concerns. They knew not to drink it. You’ve got to be careful about that and you know if you’ve got cuts and stuff…just making sure that they were cleaned really well when they came back, but overall, I’ve always felt like it’s good.”
I think a lot of it was wanting to be unsupervised and have the freedom to like do whatever you want really and kind of go wild, because after being in school all day and having teachers telling you: you can’t go behind the trees, you can’t go in like certain corners of the playground. You just really are ready to learn for yourself and have some freedom and not have someone tell you what to do all the time.
And I feel like the reason why we were hanging out with each other was because we had parents that were, you know ‘ok yeah you guys can do that’ …and the parents that were like ‘uh we want you to stay inside the house’ or you know ‘stay within this block’ then we weren’t really hanging out with them because we were outside the block.
The creek was our place to explore. It was our little realm where we could go and see everything there was to see and as we got older and we all got bikes and our parents let us roam around
Raleigh as opposed to just the creek. Raleigh—I would say became our creek in a way because it was just our place to explore.
3.2. Who: The Social Action and Cultural Context
“There were some parents who were trying to tell the kids to put the sticks down and “Let’s play nice” and “You can’t do that,” and it was just way too much parental interference [at the creek]. There sometimes will be accidents, but my experience has been there has never been any great harm done to anyone. I would much rather my kids grow up… having a full experience of life and having some adventure than, just being chauffeured around in air-conditioned minivans to their next lesson or sports event. To me, that is not a childhood.”
“There was a neighbor. She had an only child, very protective of him. I guess the school was having a fair, and I offered to watch her child and another neighbor’s child. They’re both very protective, and they wouldn’t let me. They would not leave their kids with me because I was too cavalier, and I was not protective enough of children. So, yeah, there is some backlash with parents who, in my mind, are hung up and worried too much, and that is their issue.”
“A lot of times it was kind of like trying to show [high school friends] our lifestyle to get them to understand and like it is funny like bringing people to the creek and showing them around Raleigh and like ‘That is what we used to do.’”
The creek was our place to explore, and it was like our little realm where we could go and see everything there was to see and as we got older, and we all got bikes and our parents let us roam around Raleigh as opposed to just the creek. Raleigh—I would say became our creek in a way because it just was our place to explore.
We climbed a lot of the cranes downtown. Then we climbed a lot of the buildings. There’s one warehouse that was where the new Citric’s building is. You can get on top of it pretty easily. It had a really nice view, and so we hung out there like a whole lot of nights or like a lot of mornings I guess we’d go there and watch the sunrise.
Chris confirms, “Those friendships were like almost separate in the world or like in my other friendships they were kind of different. It was just a very different thing, and I don’t think I have ever made other friendships like that.”I think about my friends, like my neighborhood friends, that I grew up with. We will just like never go away. Like it’s not an option. They are close as family to me. Whether we get into a fight, and someone stomps out of the room, it is not even a question like they are going to come back 20 min and it is going to be the same.
Rose confirms,I definitely think of them differently just because of the different things that we have been through together and like the different obstacles we have been through together. Just like really great and shitty times together that we experienced in downtown but yea it has been phenomenal.
All of the sudden here’s just this perfect environment for them to develop as friends, develop as individuals, to learn so much, to learn how to interact with each other, to learn how to have fights, to learn how to solve you know to resolve those issues. I think it would have been very different [without the creek]. I mean I still think they probably would have been friends, but I think their paths may have gone different ways. It’s an amazing impact that this one place had on them.
3.3. What and Why: Behavior and Intentionality
We have always been adventurous, going places and visiting other cultures. My husband and I met in the Peace Corps in Africa, and in fact, we are headed back to Africa next week with the whole family. And I think being open to diversity and other cultures and other people has always been something we have supported and been interested in.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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