It takes a village

I am the youngest of nine children.  What that meant growing up is that I had very little supervision. (Ha!)   It was a different lifestyle back then; Mom’s stayed home full time, for the most part, and our backyard really consisted of the entire neighborhood.  We played outside from early morning hours until the dinner bell rang (yes, we had a bell)  and then we headed home for our family dinner.   We lined up oldest to youngest on benches with my Mom at one end and Dad at the other.

It was a rarity when we didn’t eat together.  We talked about our day, we spilt milk and we fed our dog, Max scraps under the table. It was all good. Here’s a picture of 7 of the 9 of us at Christmas time…

At 3 years old, I was allowed to walk to my friend Lisa’s house.  It seems almost unreal that my Mom thought that was okay.   We ran and played in everyone’s yard, it was all fair game.  If we got a bit hungry, we would ring Mrs. Snow’s doorbell and grab a cookie or two.  Mrs. Snow always had cookies. Here’s we are…

I was a bit of an entrepreneur, even then, trying to sell old magazines to my elderly neighbors. Did they buy them?  You bet they did.

When I think back to those days, I see how life has changed and how important it is for me to not stray too far from my past.  Part of living a well-balanced life  is being there for others.  My neighbors growing up were there for me.  They were my mom’s second set of eyes.

Fast forward, I find myself now in a very mixed neighborhood.  A wonderful mix of young families and the elderly. It’s not unusual for my neighbor and good friend, Meg to drop by some meatballs for my beef eating husband and boys.  And it’s not unusual for me to drop a treat or two to her or my elderly neighbor Catherine who has a bit of a sweet tooth.  It’s always fun to share.

So as 2012 is in full swing, I think it’s important to think about those in your village.  Visit an elderly neighbor, drop some soup off to a sick friend, send a card to someone you love, ask a friend going through a hard time if there is anything you can do for them, text someone you love an ‘xo’.  In the fast-paced life, we all seem to be living in these days, maybe it’s time to take a break.  Shut off the television, the computer, twitter, and the phone and do something kind for someone in your village.

Where ever there is a living thing, there is opportunity for kindness.

This is a short story I found online–which I thought I would share…

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz.  I breezed through the questions until I read the last one:  “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”  Surely this was a joke.  I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name?  I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.  Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade.  “Absolutely,” the professor said.  “In your careers, you will meet many people.  All are significant.  They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.”  I’ve never forgotten that lesson.  I also learned her name was Dorothy.  ~Joann C. Jones



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