Chasing Contentment

Wednesday, June 8

We live in a quiet, older neighborhood in town. We know our neighbors, and they know us. We know one another's schedules and kids. Mandy and Josh live on one opposite corner of our block, and J&H and their new baby live on the other opposite corner. I love having people we know and enjoy close by.

As with all of life, there are people we don't agree with and don't enjoy so much. After one couple's divorce, the children only visit their parent across the street from us every other weekend. We know this because they come and are ugly to the other children who live in the neighborhood. It's a pitiful thing that all of us grown-ups plan outdoor activities based upon whether or not these children will be visiting at the time. The streets and yards are quieter during those weekends. And I feel bad about that.

Children need love and attention and boundaries and guidance, and I suspect these children aren't getting much of any of those from this parent. And I know that them swarming the rest of us is just them seeking out these things, and so I'm torn. I feel this maternal need to encourage them, to give them some of the attention they crave. But I also feel a responsibility to my own children to not require them to play with children who are unkind to them. I'm not sure what my own boundaries are in this situation.

Mandy told me the other day that these children aren't our responsibility, and she's right. Yet, I have this haunting feeling that I'm not doing all I should be for them. As a Christian, don't I have some responsibility to my fellow man? As a mother, don't I have some responsibility toward small children? I appreciate that there are mothers out there looking after my children, though it certainly isn't their job. Should I only do that for the friends of my children? For the children of my friends? For the easily liked children? If I'm to love those adults who wrong me, who are unloveable, shouldn't that also apply to children?

I know that Mike gets tired of fixing things for the boy who lives directly across the street. But the boy doesn't have a father around, and he clearly looks up to Mike, and so Mike does what he can when he's asked. And he's always nice about it. I'm quite sure I should be learning from his example.

And so I feel the need to commit myself to being more open with these children, more accepting. I don't think that means I have to subject Griff to their unkindness or allow them to intrude upon our family time. But I can be more tolerant and kind. I should be.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, June 08, 2005  ]


One day there will be a boy who looks back and remembers Mr. Mike. He will remember that that man had time for him. He will feel loved and valued. He will feel he is worth something because a loving neighbor took time with him.

By Blogger The Pastor, at 9:50 PM  

Post a Comment