Monday, April 23, 2007

It Takes a Village

Just about every day, Adventure Boy visits our house and stays for hours. This child is on his own quite a lot for a 5-year-old. He just gets on his little scooter, crosses the street, and comes up the hill to our house. This morning when he got here, he had no shoes on.

I think that sometimes it does take a village to raise a child. I like the fact that I have some neighbors who will let me know if one of my kids is doing something unsafe or out of line. But a lot of the village wants nothing to do with Adventure Boy's family, as I found out 8 years ago when his older brother spent hours here, playing with Big Brother.

The first couple of weeks, Little Brother and Adventure Boy were getting along fabulously. But for the past few days, they've been fighting like actual siblings. Their games of Pirates or Hess Trucks or Toy Trains are punctuated with, "FINE! I'm going home!" and the door banging behind an angry little boy. Before I can get to the door, he's already heading across the street without looking for cars.

I had no sooner expressed my distress about this to my mom on the phone than I heard a knock on the door. It was Adventure Boy's older brother. Apparently Adventure Boy was spotted by a neighbor farther down the street, riding his scooter into the middle of the road without looking. The neighbor called Adventure Boy's grandmother--so she wanted the little guy home.

I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who's been worrying about this kid or looking out for him. I don't want to have to be the only one who lets his grandmother know what he's up to when she's not looking. I watch him and Little Brother like a hawk when they're together, because I'm afraid that they will both just take off.

But I find myself worrying constantly over just how responsible I am for him. If we're home, he's here.

I think I'm going to have to lay this one at the feet of St. John Bosco. Anyone know any other good saints for boys, especially boys with a real lack of structure in their home lives?

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