Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rambling Rosey? Probably...but bear with me, won't you?

The homes in our neighborhood have all fallen below the value of what we paid for them/owe on them. Never was that more evident than when a neighbor put their house up for sale, and no one touched it for a year. They lowered the price. Nothing. They lowered the price again, still nothing.  They refused to go any lower, and took their house off of the market.  Trouble is, they bought another house, and wanted to move into it.  And so they did.

And they rented their house in our neighborhood out to a family with a middle-school boy. The boy comes over, a lot. To my house, and to every neighbor's house he can get to. And he asks for things like the riding mower, the rake, the blower, gas, and today it was butter. He walks through lawns (gasp), looks in windows when he gets to your property, and asks for things with a familiarity that is baffling. His manners are certainly not refined.

We live in a neighborhood where people visit politely, keep  to themselves a lot, and never, never ask to borrow things. This child rarely goes to school, they've put blankets up for curtains, they can't afford garbage service (I think because their garbage is spewing on their walkway from container overflow...eek!). I know about the garbage because I had to walk over there to get our push mower back I lent him (instead of the riding mower...because well, you don't borrow a man's riding mower). ;)

I talk to the boy at the door, or in the yard (he always comes over when I'm working in the yard). He's never been in the house because my husband won't allow it. That's fine. He's been in trouble with the law, school is not important to him, he's a kind-hearted kid with a roll-off-of-me attitude a child his age shouldn't have.  I've never seen his mom, though I've heard her talking to my husband through the door when she rang the doorbell once at 10:30 at night (really, 10:30 at night) to ask us if we knew anything about the school bus (three months after they moved in).

I could go on, but you get the gist. The thing is, the neighbors have all ostracized the child. They shut the door in his face, tell him rudely he cannot borrow things, or out and out ignore him. I see the hurt, and then the roll-it-off emotions registering on his face when he tells me these things (usually when I'm out in the yard, and he runs over to talk). Hubby has made it clear the boy can't come in the house, and he hates that I talk to him and sometimes let him borrow or have what he's asking for... he doesn't trust him (the police have been at their home since they moved in, though we don't know why), and doesn't want him around the house. I understand. But I also worked with troubled youth, and realize that everyone ostracizing this child doesn't help him improve his path in life. If a child doesn't have good role models, and people are always shutting him down, or shutting him out, how can he grow?  Is it our responsibility to set a good example for this young man? No. Should we? Everyone else seems to think no, and it breaks my heart. For him. And for me. I have  tendency to want to save the world, and I know I can't save him. I can only hope he finds a way to save himself. I know the odds are not in his favor, statistically speaking, but that does not mean there is not hope.

Children can't learn compassion, manners, empathy, and love...if those attributes are never shown to them.

Their house is the only one on the street that doesn't show signs of the holiday. I'll be taking over a box full of wrapped toys and games for that young man, sometime before Christmas. I'm not sure if I'll be doing it anonymously, or when I see he's home, but I do know I'm going to do it. My husband is not going to be happy with me, and I don't like to go against what I know he wants, but how can I give to charities, donate to Toys 4 Tots, take the coats to the children in the domestic violence shelter for Christmas, etc., when I know the child right across the street, someone I know, my neighbor, is very likely not having Christmas? In short, I can't. I won't. Make a difference when you can. Even if it's little, it's still a difference, and that's better than doing nothing at all.

34 comments:

  1. I think you are doing a wonderful thing. He probably has no other real love shown to him and you are showing him compassion. He probably has some sort of issues (obviously) that cause him to be this way. Just show him and his mom love. Do you have extra room in your trash cans? Maybe you could tell him to put a bag a week in your can (or whatever can fit) to help out. Love you :)

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  2. I just wanted to say I think you are super awesome.You obviously have a huge heart and you are going to make such a difference to that young man.I hope you will keep us posted!

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  3. You are way nicer than I am. I would distance myself from this kid. I see danger all over the place and I'm too old to deal with these kids anymore. Remember I was a cop for 25 years. The things I've seen. You have a good heart.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  4. Aww, Rosey you are doing such a great thing here and as a a former teacher to all sorts of kids, I am with you that all kids have good and bad, as well as redeeming qualities. So I would be like you to see the good and redeeming qualities too.

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  5. Bless you, wonderful lady. Even though none of us can save the world, we can save a life - if only by saving someone's emotional life momentarily. From research on people who survive horrendous circumstances and make the most of their lives, we know that the single factor that matters is having ONE (that's all it takes) person who cares. You are his one person. You are changing his life.

    Happy holidays. xo

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  6. Rosey, before I get into how wonderful you are for providing Christmas for that boy (and you are wonderful!), I want to ask you something. Has it occurred to you that you can be the role model? That when he comes over to talk to you and tells you about how the other neighbors treat him... can you find a way to explain it to him so that he understands? His parents haven't taught him anything (and likely never will) about how to survive in this world.

    Maybe you can tell him that people fear him because they aren't used to this behavior. They fear that if they allow him to borrow something it will not be returned. That you have an expectation that when you loan him something, like the push mower, that he bring it back to you as soon as he's done with it. This type of behavior makes a person feel more inclined to loan something.

    Maybe you can help him to understand that going to school is the only way to learn. Learn math. Learn English. But also learn how to interact with others. Get that hs degree and then learn a trade. Does he really want to be like his parents? Ostracized and disliked? Does he want to live a place of lack? Does he want garbage overflowing in his home because he can't afford trash service?

    Perhaps you can suggest that he show some incentive and work in the neighborhood. In the summer, he can mow grass. In the winter, he can shovel sidewalks. People/neighbors like a good worker. He can build trust with them. He can start by doing it with you (and your husband). If he hustles out of bed in the morning and clears someone's walk so that they can get out of their garage... they will appreciate it. Maybe he can do it the first time free of charge. What is an appropriate fee for this service? I don't know. Maybe you can talk it over.

    Maybe you can suggest that he take his earnings to pay for garbage collection. Or you can offer to allow his family to use your cans if they pay half your fee. Although it sounds like there is A LOT of garbage over there.

    The good news is that this child is teachable, reachable. You seem to be the only light he's found in this world. You can make a difference. I know you can. I will pray for you and this boy. And your husband that he might come to understand the bigger picture, and how he, too, can help change the Thinking Process for this boy. When you change that, you change everything.

    Merry Christmas. Thank you for sharing this.

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  7. A great thing to do with the presents and talking to him, but at my sea I'm neither a lender or a borrower be. Plus having him go around and looking in everyone's home is a bit creepy.

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  8. Will the parents be mad at you for bringing him gifts, though? I COMPLETELY understand why you're doing it, but obviously the parents have some issues of their own. It is truly sad what they have made the little boy into and I get why your husband doesn't want him in the house, but I am with you on the fact that he needs to be shown some kindness.

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  9. i agree that you can never learn if it is never taught or shown..and i fear in the end it will only be more trouble for some because of the ostracizing....

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  10. You sound like me, and your husband sounds like my husband.

    My husband is more extreme than yours, he won't even open the door for boy scouts. Why? Because he doesn't want their popcorn, and doesn't like the fact that they are supportive of everyone. I follow what he asks. I do buy popcorn from my nephews, and hear about it from my husband.

    When my kids have fundraisers we just write a check out to the PTA board, and that's it. I'm not buying stuff like candy bars and beef jerky.

    In general teens are getting more and more difficult. I see it with teaching. There used to be competition from the students. Now most don't care. Attendance is more of an issue. The ones that show up almost always show up, the ones that don't rarely show up. It's really sad when I have what should be an A student get a D. I care more than they do.

    My oldest sister was a troubled teen. My parents did so much for her. She had a drug and alcohol problem. I think sometimes they have to hit bottom before they learn. I have a hard time not helping though.

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  11. Thank you. I love your generous, caring, inclusive heart. And hope (so much) that your kindess to this boy sows a seed which can grow.

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  12. This is what this season is all about. Your compassion is a blessing for this young kid and he will never forget your kindness. Hopefully, he will get serious about school and his future while he is still young.

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  13. Good on you, Rosey. You are doing the right thing.

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  14. I think you are doing the right thing.... as far as talking to him and stuff, but totally agree with your husband. I just wonder why he is middle school and not in school.. that bothers me. do yall not have truancy there?
    (I think that is what it is called)
    He might just need to know someone cares and you seem to be doing that for him.

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  15. You're very kind Rosey, and see the things that most people don't or choose not to see. This really is what Christmas is all about and I think you're doing the right thing. Go for it.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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  16. You are a gem among gems Rosey. You know how I feel about you.... but be very careful.
    When I was much younger, a neighbor and her Hubs befriended a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. They were so good to this kid. One day, I looked out my window and seen the kid entering their house. ... I kept watching him. Soon, I seen him come running out with things in his arms. Then I seen my neighbors come home. I walked up and explained to them what I had seen.
    They looked around and found money had been stolen, plus beer out of the fridg... and they had no idea what else.
    They were so hurt over this low life..... So..... just be careful.

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  17. It is a hard situation. How much do you allow someone that could bring more misery than joy to be part of your life. I understand your husband wanting to shield his family. I also understand your feelings, and desire to make a difference. I don't have any words of wisdom. However, I don't know how you can just look the other way. I would be very clear about the rules of your relationship, and certainly when you borrow things to him. I think he could learn a lot from someone like you, yet he does still need to understand their are consequences to his actions. Like not returning items. Good luck, and God bless.

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  18. You have a big heart, but watch your back and things

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  19. I totally agree with you - you don't know how you may just turn his life around - just changing one life at a time.

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  20. You say you've have worked with at risk youth.....then you know just as psychiatrists know that an abnormal attachment can form if someone kind of sees you as their Savior. The gifts are very nice, but for your sake I hope you give them anonymously. I would hate for him to identify you as his girlfriend because you were nicer than anyone else to him. If he is not going to school, why haven't you contacted Social Services. Perhaps social services should be contacted so they can check if the family qualifies for food stamps or a housing allowance stipend. I think your husband is wise in not wanting the young man (what's his age) inside your home. Is the young man larger or about the same size as you? I'm sorry, but you do need to consider these things. If the law has been to their home and you don't know what for, you need to be careful for you own sake. Does your sheriff dept. in your country have a sexual predator list online that you can view to see if anyone in this family is on it? Maybe your husband is subconsciously thinking that he needs to protect you. So, don't be too hard on your husband. Gifts, fine, but anonymously I would recommend. Talking to him, fine, but always outside and in front of the house so you can't be cornered. Talking to him should also be at times when you know you can call out for help and someone can help you if needed. You don't know how he has been raised, since they haven't lived there long. You don't know what he feels is proper treatment of women. So, kindness, great if done carefully. If you go to church you could invite him to go with your whole family. Never take him anywhere in your car if he asks unless your husband can also go along. Reason I'm saying this is when I was a child we had a sexual predator rent a house next to ours for about a year. The sexual predator that had been released had a family, three boys. The oldest one seemed a bit strange just like the Dad. People were careful with their kids, and the Dad did try talking my younger sister and me to go off with him in his Jeep. Which we didn't, because our Dad had told us he might try. We did play with the boys, but only in our front yard when both our parents were home to watch. They were not allowed inside either, because our Dad was trying to protect us.

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  21. I know from experience that having even one person truly 'see' you can make all the difference in a child's life.
    There have been some good suggestions here, but your heart knows what it knows... however, I also have a suggestion: Pop a copy of 'A Child Called It' in the box.

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  22. I'm really happy to see you're so compassionate. Those toys would make SUCH an impact to him and his parents!

    By the way, I'm getting a strong vibe of Dennis the Menace from this post ;)

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  23. This is wonderful Rosey. I hope that boy does beat the odds and that one day he comes back to tell you that your kindness turned his life around. You never know!

    P.S. I love a rambling Rosey post - you pained the picture so vividly.

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  24. Wow, Rosey. I think you are doing a wonderful thing for that boy. It sounds like he is troubled. Maybe his home life or parents have issues. Maybe there is a reason why it appears like he isn't going to school. Merry Christmas!

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  25. Here's my opinion, because I am a lot like you wanting to save the world. We had 2 boys rent the house 2 doors down from us. One of them was definitely going to grow up to be a trouble maker. I didn't let him in my house, but I never turned him away from playing in our yard. Jason asked me why I always waved at him. I simply said, "Well, if he does grow up to terrorize the neighborhood, I want to be the one he has good thoughts about. He'll remember I let him play and waved at him every time I saw him" lol. Then Jason started waving at him too ;)

    I think it is awesome you are getting him something for the holidays. A little kindness NEVER hurt anyone, and it will be something he will appreciate and remember for years to come. We usually only adopt 1 angel off the angel tree a year, and I made Jason mad this year by picking 2, only because those angels are a 5 gift requirement and we spend about $100 on 1 kid. When I came across another who only wanted nail polish, I couldn't pass her up and scooped her up as well. He got over it and I feel good knowing some child is going to have a little brighter Christmas because we helped.

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    1. Hahahhaha... Theresa. We so think alike. I like being kind to kids... but... you gotta be careful

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  26. I totally get this. We also have neighbors like this - just one. The father is a convicted felon. The kids are involved with probation and social services. The sheriff is in and out of the home. We have taken them Christmas cookies before though. And I've left canned goods at the bottom of the driveway before, anonymously. They have 12 people living in a tiny little house. It looks like a junkyard. But their choices and behavior doesn't mean they don't deserve a little kindness here and there. You never know what small gesture might make a big difference.

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  27. Hi Rosey - good for you ... and I sure hope all is well with him ... and he'll remember this Christmas for many a year ... Hilary

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  28. Rosey, I think is wonderful of you for not giving up on him completely... I feel sad for children like this... as you said, most of them do not know better. Hopefully he gets trough this and becomes stronger for it...

    I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas <3

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  29. I am proud of you for treating him like he's a human being. You don't know his family's story, but it could be truly heartbreaking. I agree with your husband that he doesn't need to go in your house, but to visit with him and lend him little things here and there seems the neighborly thing to do. We're in the same boat as your neighborhood; We bought at the wrong time and are slowly regaining our home's value. Sigh. Slowly.

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  30. Are sure the parents or parent are not alcoholics or worse junkies? That could be where all their money is going too unless they're on welfare. Or maybe if the dad is an alcoholic maybe he beats them. That would be sad. What you do or are about to do does not surprise me because I know you're a nice person, and I wouldn't expect anything less from you. hehehe hugs!!! If I lived near you I'd go with you just to watch your back. Well time for me to get caught up with wrapping presents. :( So much to do. Breaktime is over. Merry Christmas dear friend, and thanks for coming over.

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  31. hi rosey, i kind of agree with @lfhpueblo ...i guess gifts will be nice but it would be safer to do it anonymously because he might take it the wrong way because you're nicer than most people he know and what would be the biggest help to this child is to involve social services so they can be handled properly..i am sorry to tell you this...if you show that you are somebody that can help him then he will take you as his hero/saviour and he might become clingy to you and emotionally involve with you... i don't know but in the world where we are today, we better always be safe than sorry...help as much as you can but be always be safe as much as you can..don't let your guards down...NEVER..

    huggies♥
    rea

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  32. Everything is for a reason.
    Kindness in just talking to him and making him feel like a person, is so wonderful.
    So sad that his heart is already hardened towards the world.

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