Thursday, June 7, 2007

new fence

We got a new fence on Tuesday. Our old one has been falling down since we moved into this house five years ago, and with another baby getting ready to start toddling around, it was time.

I don’t take this fence for granted. In fact, this post by Erika Haub was on my mind much of the day. I wonder which thing is harder from a spiritual perspective: to be in want or to be in plenty? I’ve been in both, and they’re both difficult places to be, spiritually. Raising my children in this affluent suberb is a balancing act. I want them to seize the many opportunities available to them while avoiding the sense of entitlement that too often accompanies having lots of opportunities. Is this possible? I honestly don’t know. I pray it is.

A crew of hard-working Mexican men installed our fence, working through drizzly and, at times, pouring rain. I couldn’t fix this for these men, though I wanted to. Instead I warmed their lunches in the microwave and offered them galletas y cafĂ© and the use of our restroom. After the men went back to work, Twin A. asked, “Can they talk in regular talk?”
Sighing, I corrected him. “You speak English, not ‘regular talk.’ For some people, Spanish is regular talk. The term regular is a matter of perspective.”
“What’s perspective?” he innocently asked.
I try to explain ethnocentrism in words a five-year old can understand, adding, “This is why you’re taking Spanish classes: to communicate with people who speak Spanish.” I want to weep and shout at the same time, “It’s not to improve your overall communication skills or get higher scores on the SAT. It’s to communicate with people.”
“What’s S-A-T?” his brother interjected.

I give up.

Did I mention I’m very grateful for this new fence? I am. Come on over and play! Anytime.

5 comments:

Craver Vii said...

This brings to mind some neighbors we used to have. The streets are laid out like yin and yang, so that at one point, they are close, though never intersecting. It was terribly inconvenient to visit at the other's front door, but instead, we always hung out at the back fence. The fence is kinda run down, and we talked about building a gate for each other when we eventually install a better fence. Then they moved. Our new neighbors are abnormally shy, and will not even respond when we say hi. :-(

MamaToo said...

Isn't it amazing that the simple questions challenge us right down to the core? I loved hearing about your "teaching moment," and can appreciate the funny poignancy of trying to explain something so important. We want our children & their neighbors to have the blessings of community.
So here's my little tidbit on handling the language conversation with kids... read Acts 2 with them. The passage will capture them with great imagery. We read it recently (similar ages of boys at our house), and it was so clear to them that God wanted everyone in the crowd, regardless of their "regular" language, to hear about Him. What a comfort to be reminded that I'm not inventing these values! :)

spaghettipie said...

I love how intentional you are with your teaching time. It's encouraging and challenging to me because I'm not sure I would have taken the time or effort to even begin trying to explain.

Press on in teaching them little bits at a time. They'll eventually get it!

Llama Momma said...

craver -- we had neighbors like that, too, at our back fence. (They also moved.) It very fun because they had a trampoline and we have a swingset, so each set of kids would "hop the fence" to play in the others yard.

Mamatoo - I will get that chapter out for our morning "lessons." They'll love it! (And have another hundred questions, no doubt!)

SP - I am very intentional. We live in a very priviledged suberb, and even at this young age, I've seen an unbelievable sense of entitlement in some of their friends (and, at times, them)! Already I find myself saying, more often than not, "we do things differently in our family."

A few weeks ago I dropped them off for a playdate at a literal mansion, and when I saw the incredible play area, I drove home, noting my own feelings of jealousy for this space. When I got home, I spent the time praying for the noisy boys...that they could enjoy this space and not be consumed with jealousy for it. That they could be content with what God has blessed them with. That I could be content. When they came home, there was no mention of the wealth, except to note that this friend was not very good at sharing his stuff. They had no desire to go back.

To raise our children in this world, but not of the world, takes great intentionality! And, as I'm letting them go more and more, prayer.

MG said...

Thanks for sharing how you handled a very sensitive learning moment. I applaud the way that you took a few moments out of your day to speak into your children's hearts. Sometimes, it's so easy to keep our to-do list going and miss those moments.