Community in Oklahoma

So this weekend my family and I spent our usual time at the neighborhood pool.  I am so glad that almost 5 years ago when we made the decision to move into this neighborhood, that we picked one with a neighborhood pool.  We've met most of the neighbors at the pool.  The kids have learned to swim at the pool.  And summer for us just wouldn't be the same with out the fun times we spend there.

This year the neighborhood decided that having private life guards was just going to be too expensive for our neighborhood budget.  Sure we could have raised our dues to cover it, but with the economy being the way that it is, it was decided that the parents could be in charge of watching their own children, at least for this year.  So a copy of the pool rules went out, dues did not go up, and everything was running smoothly.  At least it was until yesterday.

Yesterday my family was at the pool enjoying our neighbors, the sun, and the lukewarm water.  I was talking to a friend of mine who had just asked a group of kids not to jump over the stairs into the pool as he felt it was dangerous.  I didn't think anything about his reprimand as the rule was one enforced in years past by the life guards, and honestly our neighborhood is one where we all pretty much look out for each other's kids safety.  It's one of the things I like most about our neighborhood.  It makes me feel safe to live here knowing that I can count on everyone to protect my kids if I happen to miss something.

Not everyone, however, seems to feel the same way as I do.  Apparently there's a certain woman who thinks that if you reprimand her children, you have grievously damaged her in some way, and then she has the right to scream like maniac at the offender in a diatribe of nastiness and name calling.  I personally was completely confused by her behavior.  I also thought it was odd that the person she chose to call out is probably one of the kindest, most gentle, and most generous with his time giving back to the community and our neighborhood on regular basis type of people.  I mean most of the kids when they see him arriving at the pool get excited as this guy is probably their favorite thing to play with at the pool.  He's a good guy.

At one point during her screaming I tried to defend him, but then she turned on me and quite frankly, she was scary.  I totally wimped out keeping my mouth shut until the incident was over.  My daughter who was swimming by me had this look on her face like, "What the?"  She, sensing that I was upset, tried in her own childlike way to distract me with her new swimming pool tricks.  "Watch me, mom...watch me" she urged. Several people left right after the incident, and so eventually did the woman who had had a problem controlling her temper.

And as I've been thinking about this I've been wondering to myself, "Am I the oddball here thinking that my friend did nothing wrong in telling the lady's kids to stop doing something dangerous at the pool?"  Or was this woman right in her ranting stating that my friend should have in fact gotten out of the pool, walked over to her, and suggested that she take care of her children who were doing something dangerous (which she emphatically denied that they were).  I mean is the place that we've gotten to in our society?  Are we all so insecure in our parenting skills that we unable to let others watch out for our kids taking any reprimand towards them as a personal attack?  Have we totally lost our sense of community?

I hope not.  I know that as a parent I'm not going to be aware of every movement or action that my child takes.  To me being that perfect is a superhuman skill that I think no one, including myself, has.  I'm grateful for my friends who watch out for my kids when life takes over.  I hope that all of my friends know that about me, and continue to behave in such a way protecting my children.  And I hope this one very angry woman doesn't ruin that sense of community for my friend, for my neighbors, or for the people at our great little neighborhood pool community.  I would really miss it.

~~Mrs. McGillicutty

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