My head was buried in the engine compartment of my E46. My hands were scuffed, grubby and wet with coolant as I reassembled the cooling system. From behind me came a voice, “Is your son home”, he asked. Startled, I spun around, hitting my head on the hood latch as I turned to face him. He noticed that he had startled me, and immediately said, “I am so sorry I startled you. Is your head OK?” I chuckled, and told him I was fine, “nothing but a bump, no worries”.
After wiping my hands on a shop towel, we exchanged names and firm handshake. As it turns out, he was our new neighbor. He lives about 4 houses down, and I had not had the opportunity to meet him since he moved in.
He was an older gentleman with kind eyes, wearing blue jeans and nice button down. He came down to visit with a specific intent, to ask our son to help move in a new couch. He explained to me that in the past few months had he had both of his hips replaced, and was breaking-in a new knee as well. He looked great, spry and full of energy. Yet, he said, he could not lift more than forty pounds.
He went to explain that about a week ago my oldest had stopped. Our son was commuting on his bicycle between our home and his high school for marching band practice. He said, he and his son were moving some furniture when my oldest saw them struggling. As he put it “Aaron, your son squealed his tires to stop, hopped off his bike, and offered help”. In minutes the trailer was loaded with the furniture and my son was off to practice.
This left an impression. My Bride later told me that he had walked down and knocked on the door to say thank-you. He thanked my Bride for “raising a fine young man”.
The thing about teenagers is that sometimes as a parent you’re not sure if you’re doing the right thing. Yet, when we hear something like this from another person, it hits home that maybe, just maybe, we are on the right track. Of course our son, never mentioned it to us. He said, it was just the “right thing to do” when we told him that our neighbor had stopped by.
We have coached our children to be kind, to give of their time and of their talent without an expectation of anything in return. Sometimes that coaching has resulted in the quintessential “teenage eye-roll”. Other times, the child, without direction, demonstrates that in fact, those lessons stick.
I am a senior operations professional employed by The Toro Company. The comments, opinions and views expressed herein are mine and do not represent those of my employer.
I write to share ideas and generate a conversation. Most often you will find me writing personal stories exploring the correlation between our personal and professional lives.
© 2016 Aaron Skogen