Thursday, September 13, 2007

Community

While our neighbor was painting our house a few months ago, his little daughter, Natalie, came over to watch him paint. My girls were asleep, so Natalie busied herself with the toys in the back yard and started riding Amber's bicycle. As I looked out the back window, I thought, "How cute. I'm glad she's riding the bike." Then Natalie zoomed around the corner and disappeared, and I thought, "Well, I hope she doesn't think she can keep Amber's bike!"

Yikes! Where did that though come from? It certainly isn't the mindset I want to have. Rather, I want to have a giving mindset and a heart that is open to sharing my things (really, God's things) with others. That really is where my heart is, so why do I sometimes slip back into the "mine" mentality? I think it's because I was (as we all were) born that way--with a selfish heart--and society has done a lot to reinforce that selfish thinking.

I am trying to combat my natural selfish tendency by reminding myself that everything I own is God's anyway and I need to share what I have with others. I want to live in community with those around me, especially my neighbors. Recently we hung up a tire/disc swing in the front yard and it was my desire to see everyone in the neighborhood use it, and to show my daughter, Amber, firsthand about community. The first people that walked by the swing while we were all out front, were complete strangers--a family out on an evening walk. But we invited them into our yard anyway. Eric pushed the little girl on the swing and we told them they could swing on it and play on the slide in our front yard anytime. I thought to my self, "Now this is community. This is what I long for in a world of "ours verses theirs."

The swing has brought us much closer to the two young families that live next door. Many evenings, the "girls" (as Amber calls them) come over after supper to take turns on the swing and play with Autumn on the slide. Eric and I spent hours outside one night just pushing the girls and playing the freeze game and having so much fun until it was too dark to see ourselves. It reminded me of the neighborhood I grew up in--a street that came alive with kids after supper time playing baseball, tag, marbles and riding big wheels. I think some neighborhoods have gotten away from that and I was so happy to "bring it back" to our street.

8 comments:

Michele said...

I was just commenting to a friend of mine this very thought- that I missed the neighborhood where we grew up and that sense of community and sharing. I'm hoping to bring it back once we have our little one come, you've given me some good ideas!

heidibelle said...

That is really great Christine! That is something I have always desired also. I am hoping to build that when we get to Mali.

Ryan said...

I have really found memories of playing on your street. The Wildes, Hesters, Aguilars and Rastimyers all lived there and we spend countless days and nights running around your neighborhood, playing kick the can, hide and seek, or climbing through the culvert that runs underneath your street. Good times...thanks for reminding me.

Christine H. said...

Wow, I didn't know all that! Thanks for sharing! What culvert under the street? I didn't know there was one.

Melanie said...

Oh Christine! I have been working so hard on this with Abby. When that word "mine" comes out of her mouth it feels like a dagger. I also try to explain that all things are God's but it is a hard thing for her to understand. I have been thinking that it is about time to clean out some toys and clothes and find a way to give them so that Abby can understand. Thanks for such a great idea!

Christine H. said...

Melanie,

Amber Shea has really gotten into giving things away. We started it years ago, when she was 2 1/2 or so. We went through all her toys and she had to choose one stuffed animal to give away, one doll, one doll blanket, one horse, one... She liked it, especially when I explained to her that we were going to give it to little kids who didn't have many toys. Now we do this at least twice a year, and she shocks me with what she chooses to give away! So, it can be taught very early on. Great job starting so young with Abby!

try2bAsunbeam said...

Something happened to me this week in regards to giving. A friend called and told me how someone she knew wanted to homeschool and just needed books and how nice it would be to help her. She asked me to borrow my 4th grade Teacher editions (which bothered me that she was kind of lending MY things) and I actually said I wasn't comfortable with the idea becasue I had "borrowed" my books before and it ended up as "giving them". She assured I would be borrowing and not giving.
Then a verse came to my head--something like when you borrow, don't *expect* it back. She said "Owe no man nothing" as a rebuttal and insisted the verse I mentioned wasn't in the Bible. I knew it was. So, i told her I'd think about giving the books--I mean *borrowing* them, that in my heart I wanted to, but then again I didn't.
So, as soon as I got off the phone I grabbed the concordance and looked up borrow, give, ect. There were sooo many verses on giving freely becasue we received freely that I was convicted enough to pack up the whole set, some kindergarden books and flashcards ect. to give these people. I found the verse I had referred to in Luke. To me, it was a test...at first I was failing but I overcame!

(this is a shortened version of the story so i hope it makes sense)

hestermom said...

Looks so fun!!