Chicago, Illinois, US
October 15
I enjoy riding my bike around Chicago in my free time, perusing art and gardens, enjoying good beer, and musing on the wackiness of life.


MAY 8, 2011 5:19PM

doing it for mom

Rate: 9 Flag

This morning we had quite a parade of visitors past our house: our neighborhood's Mother's Day breast cancer fundraising walk.  At this point in Chicago's often unpredictable spring weather, Mother's Day is sometimes a beautiful day and sometimes horrendous.  The walkers were exceptionally lucky today.  It was a perfect day - clear and almost 70 by the end of the walk.


Over 15,000 walkers passed by our house.  Most were upbeat and respectful of the neighborhood.  There are always a few exceptions - people who drop trash, pick flowers, or let their dogs leave smelly gifts on the lawn, without picking up afterwards.


I was a spectator for a while, then took a break to do other things around the house.  When I went back to look again, I noticed that some of our tulips were missing.  I went outside again, in the guise of doing a little yard work.  Towards the end, I took a 5 minute walk down the street. 

When I came back, I saw a little boy, probably 7 or 8, standing next to one of our flower beds, holding a bottle of water.  The bottle contained one large bright orange tulip, suspiciously similar to the tulips he was standing next to.  I said hi.  He said hi in response.  I asked him, "Did you grow that flower?"  He looked at me slightly puzzled.  I looked at the flower bed, then looked back at him.  His expression turned rather sheepish.  He said, "No, I picked it."

I politely explained that the flowers were there for everyone to enjoy.   If enough people pick one or two, then pretty soon there are no flowers left for everyone else to see.  He said, "I'm sorry.  I just wanted to give one to my mom."   I said he could give the tulip to his mom, but suggested that he should ask next time he wants to pick someone else's flowers.  He said, "Thank you" and went to catch up with his mom.


I appreciated his intention to do something nice for his mom, even if he didn't do it in the best way.  It was refreshing that he was polite and apologetic, an increasingly rare quality in kids his age.

One of the things I enjoy most about having these flower beds out along the sidewalk is watching parents with their kids as they enjoy the flowers and use them to teach their little ones about colors and flower species.  Sometimes my neighbors' kids are the ones studying the flowers.  I agree with the idea that "It takes a village" to raise a child.   I like adding a bit of color to that village.

To all of you who are mothers, I wish you a beautiful Mother's Day.  To those of you who aren't, I hope you're just having a fine day.

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I think you did well, and may have planted a seed he needed to have in his life. One hopes that seed grows and is nurtured, and it results in empathy and kindness. I think his reaction to your question and your explanations shows he's on his hopes it continues. Thanks.
It was refreshing he knew he was wrong. It was also nice how you explained things to him.
Rated with hugs and Happy Mother's Day!!
Barry - Thanks. I hoped to plant a seed. From the way he responded, I'd say that mom has done a decent job with him so far. Hopefully he'll continue on a good path and be good to people as he gets older.

Linda - I agree. I appreciated the fact that he was honest and didn't try to lie. I thought he deserved a polite response in return for his politeness. *hugs*
"The bottle contained one large bright orange tulip, suspiciously similar to the tulips he was standing next to."
The kid sounds adorable.

I'm glad you were so nice about it.
Well done on all counts bike! A great message and pictures that made me feel very much at home.
It certainly does, I always appreciated when someone kind spoke to my children imparting a small lesson or wisdom. Very nice.
I like how you handled this with the child. And your garden is really beautiful! And what a sublime day it was yesterday in Northern Illinois!
Julie - It was like one of those comic movie moments.

Nick - He was a cute kid. He was so polite that I couldn't be rude to him. He didn't deserve that.

Rw005g - Our neighborhood has a number of major events in the warmer months - the breast cancer walk, a 5K run, Memorial Day parade, bicycle criterium race, and a few others. It's nice to see people come together for a day.

Roger - Thank you.

Rita - I'd rather be polite and kind to the kids, unless they're doing something really awful. It's been a while, but I remember the grouchy old ladies on my block when I was a kid. I don't want to be like them.

Steve - Thank you. There will be more beautiful garden areas a year from now - a work in progress right now. It really was a beautiful day, and we've got another one today.
15,000 walkers!? That is a lot of traffic going by, I'm glad you had any flowers left...and I like how you handled the tulip-picker, you're right, it does take a village. I appreciate it when someone speaks to my kid, I think they need to hear different peoples' attitudes as well: one person's "fine" is another's "oh no!"
Happy Mother's Day to you as well : )
good job with the boy. sounds like you had a good day. I did too. R
Just Thinking - Yes, that was a serious amount of traffic. I heard the figure afterwards, and that the next largest turnout was about 12,000. This is why I jokingly refer to it as "the invasion."

Sheba - I'm glad that you also had a good day. After all the lousy weather we had in April, it was a real treat. And now we've jumped from cool spring to full-on summer weather in the blink of an eye - until it goes back to spring weather in another day or so.