“In the ‘hood, we share.” These were some of the most enduring words that were spoken to my heart as we ventured to this new neighborhood almost 10 years ago.
When we first moved in, nobody brought us banana bread or came over to say “welcome”… but we knew we found an amazing community when the kids in the neighborhood were willing to share everything they had with each other and even with my kids. This was first exemplified to us at our first neighborhood picnic. There was a sweet little girl eating Corn Nuts out of a bag when one of my little girls (probably 2 at the time) asked if she could have some. Instead of pouring some into my daughter’s hands, she gave her the rest of the bag…. and even had a smile on her face. When I saw this, I immediately tried to give them back and that’s when the little girl’s mom said, “No…you are in the ‘hood now, we share.”
Those words have changed me. This life has changed me. It has also changed my children.
We homeschool but also participate in extracurricular activities and a tutorial where my kids hang out with friends outside the neighborhood. Recently one of my kids has had a lot of trouble trying to “fit in” to a group of kids who have made it pretty clear by their behavior and words that they don’t want him/her to “fit in” and they are not making extra space. This has been a REAL challenge for my child….and for me, as a mom, to watch. It hurts. It divides. It crushes spirits and it’s hard to know what to do with it.
Today we ventured out to brave the snow and cold and enjoy this weather. I knew we would attract some neighbor kids, so we brought out extra hats, extra gloves and went ahead and made to gallons of hot chocolate.
While we were sledding outside in these frigid temperatures, it occurred to me why this has been so hard for my child going through this to deal with being excluded. I haven’t equipped them.
Since we have been living on the Front Porch, my kids aren’t used to exclusion here and haven’t been raised to exclude. Exclusion by definition is:
“an act or instance of excluding; keeping apart; blocking of an entrance.”
Everything we do in this neighborhood is about including, inviting, sharing what we have with as many as we can. Some of our neighbors with less have taught us about sharing more than any other community. And the most amazing part of it, is that most of this we have learned from living in this neighborhood with amazing kids who know how to live in real community.