Above / Back in November 2016, Naperville City Councilwoman Judy Brodhead and candidate John Krummen filed petitions in the City Clerk’s Office to run for four-year seats to serve on City Council. Along with Councilman Kevin Coyne and candidate Benny White, they won in the 2017 Consolidated Election and are now in place with two-plus years left on their terms through May 2021. The 2019 Consolidated Election is April 2. (PN File Photo)

With fresh starts in mind, we’ve updated the Positively Naperville website calendar category of “Festivals, Traditions and Special Events for 2019” and created a page dedicated to “Meet and Greet the Candidates in the Consolidated Election on April 2.

It’s no secret vibrant communities are built and sustained when independent minds join together for good conversation, good listening and good deeds. This city offers an abundance of choices of things to do, even though some of the longtime events could use a little refreshing. But that’s another story I’ll address after I finish a book I recently received titled The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker.

The power of gathering is apparent whenever folks attend City Council meetings, school board meetings, concerts at North Central College, sporting events or the Riverwalk Duck Race.

Events without a responsive and curious audience can be pretty boring, so putting butts in seats at candidate forums and town hall meetings is a good thing. Just follow the leader who might have sage advice regarding when it’s appropriate to cheer and applaud.

Furthermore, spectators who line a parade route or the boundaries around a soccer field or a street corner to watch folks peacefully draw attention to a common purpose understand how very precious our freedom to assemble can be and why we cherish rights to debate and express our diverse views.

Moving right along

At the beginning of every year, I’m also reminded that roughly 35 years ago when our family was living in Chatham, N.J., I was attracted to Naperville because my cousin lived here. Wanting to return to the Midwest to be closer to family in Muncie, Ind., I researched this city, its healthcare, and its schools, finding that information often was enhanced with photos of historic Martin Mitchell Mansion (I connected because my mother’s family name is Mitchell.) and local parks. I learned that Naperville was settled in 1831, two years before Chicago.

At dusk during my first visit on Jan. 1, 1993, twinkling white lights illuminated Naperville’s community spirit and can-do initiatives such as revitalization of our charming downtown so close to the Riverwalk and Naper Settlement.

For 2018, the holiday illumination of downtown Naperville changed from tiny twinkling white lights to sparkling snowflakes. And folks were reminded that Dean’s Fine Clothing along Main Street will celebrate its first 60 years in business all during 2019.

This community is bustling, in part, because of its welcoming volunteer opportunities, teamwork, private/public partnerships, boards and commissions as well as many private organizations and local businesses that bring caring folks together to work on the challenges that unite us.

More than a few times I found that I’ve written “by working together, local governments, independent businesses and private citizens have created a rich culture — a diverse culture Naperville citizens continually try to define.”
Yet, times always change. Families tell us they no longer gather around the dinner table.

For many of us old enough to have memories dating back more than 50 years, it’s often tough to grasp the way young Millennials and Post-millennials learn via electronics. But they do.

(Still, we’d truly appreciate it if you’d let the youngsters in your life catch you reading PN. And let them know it’s for pleasure.)

No matter how you look at it, we appreciate all readers of Positively Naperville. We especially found joy when the December “cover girl” opened the January issue of PN.

We’re all in this big wide world together. One of the many wonderful things about this city is that all ages often collaborate. Service organizations provide festivals for young and old to join hands for worthy causes. Everyone is invited to the party. Individuals, couples and groups are welcome. You just have to raise your hand or purchase a ticket in support of a cause.

So here’s hoping in 2019 you’ll take time to gather and fill ordinary moments with love, reason, fun, conversation and gratitude. Thanks for reading.

—Stephanie Penick, PN Publisher

Editor’s Note, Jan. 21, 2019 / If you also read The Wall Street Journal, an essay in the Jan. 19-20 edition featured “The Secret Power of the Children’s Picture Book” by Meghan Cox Gordon. The story addresses the importance of reading aloud to children from printed pages. The subhead reads, “Even infants get profound cognitive and behavioral benefits from sharing a vivid story.” Remember Goldilocks? Remember her encounter with the three bears?

My husband and I are thrilled to see our granddaughter’s interest in turning the pages in the little books from her large book collection and that she enjoys sitting with her parents while they read to her.

We also are pleased to be reminded of the importance of early childhood development that is featured monthly in “Raise Your Play IQ” columns from the DuPage Children’s Museum. From now through May 12, 2019, in the spirit of the late Fred Rogers, the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood exhibit is happening at the Museum.