I love the way kids can just instantly bond with one another in the name of play! They don’t care about skin color, economic status, education level, or even if they know each other’s names! They just want to play with someone their own size! I have watched this happen so many times in the last couple of weeks. As the weather has warmed, kids naturally want to play outside – ride bikes, walk the dog, etc. There are so many children in this neighborhood, I don’t know how we will ever get to know them all! But, we have gotten to know our next door neighbor and her 4 children. They are perfect playmates for Emma and Cooper – 2 preschool age boys & a little girl Emma’s age. As soon as they see that we are home, they are knocking on the front door! Yesterday, I walked into the living room to see a little face plastered to the window looking for Cooper! It’s wonderful!
Adults, on the other hand, are much more stand-offish. We have learned that people can be hurtful and unkind at times, so we tend to be more guarded with who we let into our lives. I have seen this in the last couple of weeks, as well. We had the opportunity last week to invite some teenage boys in our neighborhood to participate in a youth retreat sponsored by Austin Peay State University. As we first approached each mother, we could see their stiff body language and somber faces bracing for bad news or a request for money. Then, as we explained that her son had been nominated to participate in this retreat, free of charge, because of his standing as a good role model and positive leader in the neighborhood, we saw smiles spread across their faces and a sense of pride swell up from inside. It was so much fun to get to deliver that good news! I hope that we have planted some seeds of trust that will lead to friendships in the future.
This week, I am finalizing plans for a month of “healthy living” classes for the women of the neighborhood. These classes will meet each Tuesday in April. Our home church, Second Baptist, is going to sponsor the classes, which will be taught by RN’s from the congregation. They will teach about living a heart healthy lifestyle, basic first aid, and how to prevent infection. Then on the last Tuesday of the month we are going to have a clinic night, where these ladies can have their blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, etc. checked. Again, I am praying that new friendships will be planted and that we will begin to build up some trust in the neighborhood.
“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:10