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.
ON HIS SIDE.
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.)