Nevertheless, I am driving them home from school with another teenage classmate and Boy 4, who is always ready to combust... but that's a different story. We live in an older well established neighborhood. The houses average, I'd say roughly 90 years old with trees that are equally as old. We also have a good number of elderly empty nesters in our neighborhood, as well. As I drive down the block parallel to mine, Boy 3 says "Mommy, we should help her." I didn't see whatever it is he saw, so I asked "Help who?" "That old lady in the yard." I glance behind me and I see an elderly lady picking up tree debris from her yard, a fairly significant amount of broken branch pieces. This is a no-brainer. I put the car in reverse. I stop in front of her house and I say to the boys "Go handle that." Random acts of kindness in its simplest form. Four able body boys doing what for them is easy labor, so one elderly home owner would not have to do what appeared to be difficult labor for her. AND it was Boy 3's idea! He saw it and he wanted to help. What a nice simple story of raising compassionate boys, right? WRONG!!
My boys jumped out the truck ran onto her yard with all their "boy energy", began picking up a bunch of broken sticks, headed towards the woman to put them in her bag and damn near gave that poor women a heartache. She clutched herself so tight and started running backyards, all the while say "No. No. No. No." That poor lady. She was petrified.
Have you seen these new post of Facebook where the photo has a professional title centered and underneath it shows pictures of what people think they do for a living versus what they really do?
Here's an example:
Well, I am going make one for our attempt at a Random Act of Kindness.
"What we think we do"
"What our poor elderly neighbor thought we were going to do"
I felt terrible. I really wasn't trying to kill my neighbor. I swear, I was trying to be helpful. So, I rolled down the window and tried to calm her down. "No worries, Ma'am. I just sent my boys to pick up the branches, so you wouldn't have to. They can take care of it." She wasn't feeling me, either. She wanted all of us the hell up off her property. So we retreated.
I will take responsibility for this chapter of When Good Goes Bad. At the heart of this, is a lesson I need to learn about being so daggone abrasive. It just never occurred to me that the sight of three teenage boys and one minion jumping out of truck, grabbing sticks and heading towards you could actually be frightening to an elderly woman alone on her yard. I'm an idiot. End of story.