Tyler was a quiet, handsome child who had the habit of laying his bicycle down wherever he happened to play instead of parking it off of the street where we lived. I think each one of us neighbors ran over a Tyler-owned bicycle by the time he was grown.
A third memory was the Blizzard of 1993. Tyler, his sister, Haley, who is now a lawyer in Birmingham, and my children sledded down the hill in our yard and tromped through the snow that gave them a few days out of school. We adults had as much fun as the children did.
Such memories make me realize how fortunate I was to have been part of a wholesome neighborhood twice, once as a child and once as a mother. Both times, I hardly realized until later how such a wholesome community would shape us. For instance, as a child, the relationships I made with other children, their parents, and the kind neighbors around me inspired me to stay in this area as an adult and to serve in the several, modest ways that I have. Staying close to home allowed me to observe how the other neighborhood children grew up to become valuable contributors to our way of life here.
As an adult, one of the modest roles I loved was to simply be a mother and to be kind to my children’s friends – as so many of the women in my neighborhood did for me when I was young. I had the privilege of placing band-aids on scrapes and scratches, serving cookies and fruit drinks to thirsty and hungry children, and playing yard ball with the children who happened to be visiting. These were insignificant contributions, or where they? Often, in life, it is the small, daily kindnesses that go a long way toward enhancing the quality of life.
I like to think in some way that I helped shape children like Tyler by providing him with a happy playmate (my son) and by maintaining a home that contributed toward a safe neighborhood. Tyler’s becoming a golf professional is an important, responsible job that allows him to serve others in many positive and wholesome ways. Such is the circle of life.
Lately, the news has had many stories about the economic challenges that families in our neighborhoods face – rising medical costs, increasing tax bills, the laying off of employees by companies, and other anxiety-producing circumstances. What can adults do to lessen the burdens on the families around us? We can practice small, daily kindnesses in our neighborhoods, our places of employment, our schools, or our churches. Such acts cost nothing. They take little effort, and they place within the hearts of those we touch, the inspiration to live life well. These are the ways we’ll preserve the quality of the American lifestyle during these difficult times.
Congratulations to Tyler and to his parents, Lloyd and Robin.
Email to Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.