Let me explain to you our neighbor situation. We live on a dead-end street with about 10 other houses. No one comes down this street unless they absolutely have to. When we saw this house, the dead-end was one of the positives. We are also surrounded by fields, so pretty much, our 10 neighbors are what we get. This was a positive, but has turned into a negative. You see, our neighbors have decided that we are not safe. That our kids, are not safe to play with their kids because we are different. We live in a state with a very distinct religion, and we are not part of that religion. When we first moved in, our neighbors were awesome! Our kids played with theirs, we had neighborhood parties, but slowly this began to change. We are not going to change, and neither are they. So their answer, to call in their kids every time my kids go out. This happens often, even today. My husband and I have tried to talk, but they insist nothing is wrong. The problem is, this is bullying, but it has happened to so many people who are not of this religion, that unfortunately it is the norm. I will be honest, this is one of the reasons our children do not attend the local public school. All the kids know each other rom their church which makes it very difficult for newcomers to come in. It is a very sad situation because I know that in different circumstances we could all get along. Especially the kids. Kids are taught these actions, and let me tell you how hard it is not to tell my kids to be mean right back.
But my kids have good hearts, better than my darkened grown up heart. My two youngest last week decided they would pack a lunch for our closest neighbors and invite them over. And guess what, they came. Of course today, we had issues, but baby steps, right? Instead of getting mad, my kids are trying. I realize they may get hurt, but they are teaching me to take chances, to think beyond the silliness that discrimination can bring. My kids are teaching me to look beyond their religion at the person, and try to reach the person. Not because I want to convert them, but because this is what I am called to do. To look past, to love when I cannot. This is exactly what my kids are choosing to do, but really do not know all the philosophies behind it. They took a chance last week, today they were rejected and I had to tell them to always say hello, but not to get too close. Always reach out, but realize that their efforts will not always be met with enthusiasm. Always act in love, even when love is not returned. Now I must remind myself of the same advice and hope for the best.
Have a great day everyone and remember to always reach out!