October 23, 2009

Just before dusk

Just before dusk

Little Biker Boy, the eight-year-old neighbor boy, can be a difficult child. He’s got deep pockets of rage – and he’s had some terrible role models. Because he comes from a very different household, it’s hard for him to learn the rules of my household, rules that I haven’t often articulated because they seem like common sense to me. “No, you can’t bang on the piano with your elbows.”

But outside, on a walk at Pretty Colour Lakes, he is easier to handle. He can run and yell and kick logs — and his behavior won’t bother anyone. He can throw rocks into the lake, and no one gets hurt. He can be as loud as he want because the trees and sky will just swallow the noise.

Always, he tires himself out fairly quickly, and then he settles down and walks around the lake with my husband and me. He’ll point to rocks and squirrels, pick up acorns, and scream with delight when he sees something cool. As we circle the lake, tramping along the mulch paths lined by cedar trees, I can feel the stress seeping from his body. At the lake he can be – simply – an eight-year-old boy enjoying a fall afternoon. By the time we get back to the beach, to the parking lot and the car, he’s so relaxed that he’s ready to take a nap way home, even though it’s just a few minutes.

14 comments:

sherry said...

I wonder how he would do with tent camping?

This is the type of child for whom Scouting is perfect....with the right adult leader.

jo(e) said...

Sherry, that's a great idea. Outdoor activities with a responsible adult role model -- that's just what this kid needs.

I think there is a Boy Scout troop in this area. I'm going to check into it.

Abby said...

Scouting IS a great idea. I have some serious problems with the homophobia of the organization, but I think Boy Scouts has also saved a lot of boys just like this one. Mostly, though, I just wanted to reiterate how wonderful it is that you're such a positive role model for this boy and that you take the time to provide not only some structure but some safe space for him. You're making such a huge difference in this person's life, which also means that you're making a huge difference in the lives of all of the people he'll interact with as he matures. Nice work there, jo(e).

BrightenedBoy said...

Thank you.

I know it might seem ridiculous for me to say that in reaction to this post, but I want to thank you for providing one child with a safe place in this world, one place where he can be an eight-year-old boy and his sister can be a five-year-old girl.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I'm glad he has you to take him out on these rambles. Your stories about this family are heart breaking. They are in my prayers.

Amber S said...

I am so soothed knowing there are people in the world like you, jo(e).

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the above,and I also think that the fact that your husband and sons are there providing postitive male adult role models is really important.
--Neighbor Lady

BeachMama said...

jo(e), I thank God that He has given biker boy you and your husband. Two wonderful, safe people that he can trust and let loose and be free around.

May he absorb all of your kindness and nurturing and come out on the right side.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

It's expensive and a huge time commitment but skiing is a good outlet, too. He would probably need 1:1 instruction. My son doesn't do very well in ski classes because he doesn't want to listen to the instructor, he just wants to free ski. (We make him take the class anyway.) Anyway there's something about skiing -- the freedom of being able to go anywhere, the confidence that comes from doing something difficult, the exhilaration of speed -- that I bet this kid would really love. Also ... it's a whole day out of the house.

Readersguide said...

How is his sister doing?

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

Something a lot more practical than skiing instruction would be martial arts training. It teaches self-discipline, gives confidence, and would let him kick the *ss of the next "Man With Green Pick-up" who comes along.

I know that there are a number of Tae Kwon Do schools in your area; I don't know if any offer scholarships. (That would also be something that Little Biker Boy and Ponytail Girl could do together, unlike scouting.)

bsouth said...

You are an amazing person and he is a lucky boy. I can't articulate all the things I want to say but I echo BrightenedBoy when I thank you.

liz said...

What they all said. And also, maybe 4H?

Kyla said...

It is lovely what you are able to lend to his life.