Snow Removal 

The other morning I went out to my car to leave. Rob had walked me to the porch and was waiting on the porch while I got in my car and pulled out to leave. We have street parking, but my car  was parked in front of our house.

It had snowed the day before, but I had been already out so my car was clear from snow. Even if it was snowy, Rob always clears it off for me:)

This morning my neighbor was also heading to her car which was parked in front of mine. She clearly had not been out in a while as her car was piled high with snow. She was with her 17 year old son. I watched as she pulled out a snow brush and started to clean her car. I fully expected her 17 year old to take over the task. Instead, he lit a cigarette. Then, he crossed to the other side of the street to stand in the sun to smoke his cigarette. His mother kept clearing the snow.

I was already in my car and at that point I had to leave ( I never leave enough time to get to my appointments.)As I pulled out, I called Rob. He answered with: “I am in complete awe. Can you believe it?” He clearly had seen the 17 year old light up a smoke —- then move to the sunny side of the street to stay warm —- while his mother cleared the snow off.

Rob was getting ready to head outside to help, although we both agreed that it would be very awkward if he offered help, and likely our neighbor would be upset with him (ironically with him, but not her son.)

While still on the phone with me, he said our neighbor finished up; the son crushed his cigarette into the ground (the ground where, unfortunately, my dog will be sniffing later), got into the car and they drove off.

She was likely driving him to school.

Seriously? That’s all I could say.

Seriously, are we raising a generation so completely selfish and self centered that helping their own mother is overlooked?

It reminded me of the time I was 8 months pregnant with Josh,  Zach was 18 months old, my (now) ex husband had broken his leg and was confined to the couch. It was a very snowy January and I was leaving for work with Zach. It had snowed the night before A LOT and I opened my front door only to see that my neighbor in the attached house next to me (we lived in a semi detached home) had very kindly cleaned the snow.


Yup. Literally cleaned his side of the stairs, his side of the path.

I think I cried.

And then went to a kind neighbor across the street and asked if I could pay their teenage sons to clear my snow for the winter (he of course agreed, and refused any kind of payment.)

(My semi-detached neighbors split shortly after and he moved out and eventually a new boyfriend moved in who was the BEST neighbor ever!!)

Anyhow, back to my original story….

That night we told the story to our kids and I was relieved that they found the story about our 17-year-old-move- to-the-sun-to-smoke-while-my-mom-cleans-the-snow just as appalling.


I don’t want to be raising that kind of kid.

As appalled as I was at the son, I also think it’s the Mom’s responsibility to be teaching her son and not accepting that kind of behaviour.

In our house when you shovel, you shovel our area (which absolutely includes the stairs and side of the path of our semi detached neighbor, AND  the sidewalks in front of both houses) AND our other next door neighbor’s  paths (if not already done as they are elderly and their 40 something year old son does it usually).

You just do this. We all do it. (Except Rob who is never allowed to shovel again due to his heart attack last year— such drama he created all to get out of shovelling:))

It doesn’t take much to help people out. It doesn’t take much to do a little extra. And it certainly shouldn’t take much to help your mother out, given all that I KNOW  she does for you.

You can be sure that since that day, I have not gone to my car with one of my kids without them clearing off the snow or offering to do so:) I’m so glad it’s being engrained in them now that serving others is always the way to go (and yes, they need the reminder to get out there and serve – but I consider it my job to continue to train them, and most importantly, set the example.)

(PS – yes, we do live in a downtown area, so luckily it is only stairs, paths, and sidewalks and very few driveways that need shovelling – although you often have to shovel around your car on the street. However, I did grow up in an area with long driveways, and I grew up with a Dad who not only shovelled our driveway, but often the neighbours driveway…so appreciative of his example.)


Snow Removal  — 11 Comments

  1. Love, love, love this blog. So so true. Helping and serving others is what we all should and want to do. So so glad that my children all have learned to do this. Love them all so dearly! Lots of snow to shovel this year!

  2. Seriously, couldn’t agree more and am also hopeful that I am teaching my girls to be kind and considerate with helping our neighbors, especially with stuff like snow removal. In this day and age, it is sad to think that people are just so into themselves that wouldn’t care enough to try to help others, especially that young teenage boy with his own mother. That would have most certainly upset me to see, too.
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Modern Families – Connection Lost?My Profile

  3. I can’t even tell you how often I see this kind of thing in so many kids these days!! Our neighbors (who we really love) don’t expect their kids to do anything around the house – so they don’t.
    What really gets me is when you see young people who shove their way in or out of a building while others are trying to get in/out at the same time.
    Kim recently posted…February: All About the Run (2/22 – 2/28)My Profile

  4. I’m with Chris – I’m more appalled at the mom than the son. My first thought was that maybe he had a physical condition that prohibited shoveling, but if he was smoking, that can’t be it.

    We share a long driveway with neighbors who have a snow blower. They used to snow blow straight down the middle of the shared part. Really. Now they do the whole shared part, but we shovel the upper portion that is just ours. The other day the snow was really light, so I shoveled the whole shared part. That’s what neighbors do.
    Dana recently posted…Six books to get you through this eternal winterMy Profile

  5. We have excellent neighbors that when we had the really bad snow storm early Feb that we asked the boy across the street who has a snowblower to come dig us out, very willingly he was over and his dad did not want to accept payement, we did pay him as it was a lot of work. But in our house so often the snow comes over the weekend and the child in our house who lives there 50/50 sits and plays video games and does not lift a finger. Come monday morning when i leave for work car buried and walk buried, his dad does not make him help and it makes me crazy. I have talked to his dad regarding allowance etc and nothing motivates him, last summer he was at our house for the day and he was offered $$ to help out. His response “im not here to do chores”.. i am so afraid that we will have that 17 year old standing in our drive watching others work. As well our neighbor with the adjoined lawn offered to pay him to mow her lawn… nope not a finger lifted and our lawn will go for a month before being mowed as i have now refused to do it since child wont and dad makes excuses.

    I keep trying to get some motivation going but keeping hitting the wall, any helpful ideas/tips?? I’m stuck.

  6. Ugh, disgusting! That is totally appalling and bizarre. I’m glad I find it that way and my kids will be taught the same.
    Also, the story about your old neighbor is disgusting too. Why are people so miserable and/or clueless sometimes?
    Tamara recently posted…How To Fall In Love.My Profile

  7. More than the lazy teenager, I think I’m more surprised at your neighbor who only shoveled their half of the stairs and property. I mean, you’re already outside in your gloves with a shovel, may as well take care of that extra 18 inches of sidewalk!

  8. Snow removal provides an interesting opportunity to serve. A lot of people are helpless for whatever reason in shoveling their own area. I think it’s important to always be aware of others and how we can help them in this situation. Thanks for sharing your perspective and experience about snow removal.

  9. That is absolutely horrifying and unusual. I’m happy I discover it that way and my children will be instructed the same.

    Likewise, the tale about your old neighbor is disturbing as well. Why are individuals so hopeless and/or dumbfounded in some cases?

  10. I’m lost for words for your neighbor, her son’s, and the neighbor who shoveled just his side! How hard is it to just help the people around you? I’m happy to hear your kids knew right off the bat that what the smoking 17 year old did was wrong. Come to think of it, 17 and smoking?! Wow!

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