I just need a moment to get away from the positive and really complain. What I love about blogging is that I feel I am really heard here. Even if people don't necessarily agree with me, my side of the story gets to be told. This is one of those instances that I just need to feel like there are some open ears.
We live in a townhouse community. It's kind of an odd story. We lived here in 2004, then we moved to a house. When we sold our house a year and a half later (that's a different, VERY long story), we saw that a townhouse was for sale in the community. It was being sold, in fact, by a family we had been friendly with when we first lived here. We remembered the complex to be fairly nice, with young couples or families who were trying to make a life for themselves.
Well, let me tell you how much can change in less than two years. As soon as we moved in, we noticed that the place had changed. There were a few of the nice neighbors, and we did enjoy rekindling a relationship with some of them. Then there was the other side of the coin. No longer were the nice young families here. Instead there were a bunch of people who seemed to have been dropped from planet I Don't Give a Care. It's turned insane.
While I joke about the new type of person who lives in our complex, I do think they are a representation of society in general. People just don't seem to have pride anymore. I shouldn't say people; that's a sweeping generalization. From my experience, young parents just aren't involved. Let me put it that way. Still a generalization, but it's fair to say that is my experience.
Anyway, about a year ago this family moved in. They have four kids, two of them being the same age as my own daughters. We thought a friendship could develop, and we tried. Unfortunately, we are just too different. Their kids run around like untrained monkeys. They ride their bikes in the streets and are under absolutely no supervision at all. The kids have been known to go play in properties that have no residence, and they have picked fruit off of the trees in yards that don't belong to them.
We finally told our kids they are not to play with these neighbors. We had a confrontation with the parents over some of this behavior, and I THOUGHT we were in agreement that our kids were to stay away from each other. Apparently these people don't know the meaning of leaving things alone. Their kids walk past mine, calling my girls names and making fun of them. They taunt my girls telling them about birthday parties they are not invited to. It's cruel and just plain rude. Again, another confrontation. Again, closed ears.
Friday afternoon around 4 PM all the kids were outside playing. My kids were in their small boundaries, the other kids get to roam the entire complex. My girls come inside to tell us the other kids are causing trouble. Sure enough, the neighbor kids were looking in car windows, touching the cars, and even sitting on the motorcycle that was parked outside someone else's unit! I've had it. There is nothing I can do to get the parents to make their children behave, and yet I feel protective over the place I live. I would want my neighbors to look after my vehicle if some kids were messing with it.
So, not knowing what else I could do, I called the non-emergency police number and asked. The officer I talked to was just as frustrated as I am. He said they can't MAKE parents be good parents, which I understand. Until the children cause actual damage, the police can't do anything. Their hands are tied as much as ours are. I know that; I just need SOMEONE to tell me how to make a change in this environment. Apparently there is no change to be made.
My husband and I went to sit outside and watch our girls play, but as soon as we turned our backs, one of the other kids was over bugging my youngest daughter and asking her to play. Do you not get the point, kid? You were told to stay away, your parents were told you are not welcome around my kids, and you push like this? AFTER I sat and watched you touching and playing with vehicles that don't belong to you? I don't THINK so!
I went over to the parents' house. I really meant to have a civilized adult conversation. I had forgotten, apparently, that you can't have a rational discussion with people who have no values or morals. I knocked on the door. When it was answered I told the mom, "I've told you many times to keep your children away from mine. They are NOT allowed to play together. If your daughter continues to approach mine I will consider it harassment and find out what I can do to legally stop this. I've had it." Her answer, "My kids can do whatever they want. You will not tell me what to do with MY children." No, I can't tell her how to parent. That is true. But, I WILL protect my children if I have to. I said, "Fine. I'll figure out how to take care of this on my own. I'm telling you- keep your kids away from mine." "What are you going to do about it, B*&CH?"
For some reason, name calling pushes me over the edge. I know it shouldn't. Sticks and stones and all that. But, I have to tell you... I'm tired of always being the one to do the right thing. So, I broke. I shouted back, and I know the shouting comes from wanting desperately for SOMEONE to tell me that I am right- that these low-lives need to keep their kids away from mine since I can't make the children behave in the rest of the complex. I should have known that people like this will never listen. Our shouting match resulted in the husband of the other woman calling the police, even though she was following ME home. She could have easily turned and went in the house, but apparently chasing me while screaming seemed like a better option. Hey, at least I was heading away. Yes, I was still shouting, but I was attempting to end the situation. When will I learn that you can't convince an idiot to be logical and see the points being made? All they want to do is push buttons and react. Now I see where their kids get it.
The police don't want to get involved in our argument. Of course not, that is understandable. I, however, was considered the instigator and told to stay away from the neighbors. That is also understandable, although it is extremely frustrating. The trash can continue to act like trash, and though I did fall to their level in a brief time of desperation, I must once again continue to have my values trampled on because this society allows the lowest to be protected while those of us who want to be better must sit back and watch the country turn to mush.
See, this rant isn't really about neighbors, though this is where it starts. It's about a society that has changed to the point that I don't comprehend how the good guys will continue to win. Children are allowed to run wild in the streets. They can talk to other children and adults any way they please, and there is no discipline to be had. There is no responsibility expected from any of us. We could ALL run wild in the streets. What are the authorities going to do about it? All we have to do is call foul, and it's game over. There is no way to MAKE anyone behave like a person who values themselves and the others around them.
So, I will continue to sit back in my little townhouse and watch the children destroy the environment around me. I will walk over trash strewn from one end of the complex to the other as I walk to my car. I will watch children chase cats into bushes with sticks, and I will watch children taunt each other so that more bullies are made as the children learn to stick up for themselves.
I have broken. The bad guys won. I guess I watched too many movies in my childhood where the men in the white hats won, and I have an idealized view of the world. I thought I could be the change I wanted to see in the world, as the saying goes, but the truth is that I can't sit back and do so quietly, not trying to rally the troops. Unfortunately, this incident has taught me that it is time to sit back and slowly watch the world around me disintegrate. There is no use fighting anymore, because even fighting for what is right and good in this world still makes me wrong.
She who yells the loudest doesn't get heard. Passion for a cause DOESN'T get you noticed. In this day and age of "anything goes," if you care about doing the right thing, you are a nut case. If you need me, I can be found sitting on the chair in my living room. My kids will be right here with me, logging in plenty of screen/ electronics time. Feel free to call the experts that say kids shouldn't be watching so much TV and such. I have an answer to why children don't go outside to play anymore. Hey, maybe I'm onto something. Now if I could just get someone to listen....
If you've stuck with me this far, THANK YOU! I honestly just need to be heard once in awhile. Even if you don't agree with my view point, I appreciate you hearing me out. I do feel trapped, especially now when I don't have many options for taking my kids out to parks or play lands. The way the thugs are taking over our neighborhood makes me sad. I feel helpless and hopeless.
I would love to hear your stories. Do you feel society is heading down the wrong path? What do you do to make the world around you a better place?