June 14, 2022
I heard voices. I thought I was dreaming until I heard the distinctive “thump, thump, thump” of someone jumping on the neighbors’ trampoline.
I got out of bed and walked to the kitchen window where I could see the trampoline in the backyard next door, and three boys were laughing and talking and jumping.
Did I mention that it was 11:45 PM?
Perhaps they heard me or felt my presence, but they then quietly disappeared into the house.
I wish I could say that I slept well the rest of the night, but that was not the case. I knew I needed to talk with the parents, for middle of the night trampoline parties held by elementary school-aged children is not ok. I was quite certain it was not ok with the parents either and for whatever reason they were not aware of the backyard action, but still I was not eager to be the mean old woman on the block.
The next afternoon I went next door, and when the young Dad came to the door, I said, “I hate to do this, but did you know your boys were jumping on the trampoline at 11:45 last night?”
No, he had no idea. The boys had a sleepover and after setting them up with a movie at 10:00 pm, he and his wife went to bed, congratulating themselves that all seemed to be well. He apologized and assured me they would take care of it.
I reassured him that we thoroughly enjoy the boys and emphasized my hope that the boys knew they could always turn to us if they needed help of any kind.
A bit later I received a note of apology. The note is now on my bulletin board–a sweet treasure and a symbol of how it, indeed, takes a village to care for our children.
We have 22 children on our block, and it delights my husband and I to see them playing with each other outside, racing up and down the block, making up games, and enjoying big chunks of non-screen time. There is an air of safety, and I trust that everyone on the block takes responsibility for the care and protection of those children.
However, I also know that in the bigger picture we have failed our children. We have failed to protect them. Parents are afraid. Teachers are afraid. Children are afraid. And yet, we continue to ignore ways to protect our children, and, in fact, all of us by not enacting gun regulation laws. And it is up to each of us, everyone in the village, to create the change that will allow our children to grow without fear or trauma that will color the way they live the rest of their lives.
How are you willing to be part of the village that cares and protects our children? I would love to know.