Help, Protect, and Advise

Now that my youngest can ride her bike, she pedals off into the sunset while exploring the rolling biking trails of Central Pennsylvania.  You just can’t stop her. 

Last night, my husband takes my daughter to a biking trail, and my biking expert neighbor joins him.

“I’m sorry, but the cyclist in me can’t handle this,” he says as he looks at my daughter.  “Her helmet isn’t adjusted correctly.  Let me help you.” 

He fixes my daughter’s helmet so it properly protects her head, and he tightens it in all the correct ways (who knew?). 

This morning, I go out into the yard to thank him.  “No problem! We just can’t have her head unprotected!” 

No we cannot.  I think about the loving gesture to help, protect, and advise.  What if every neighbor took care of one another like this?  What if every neighbor intervened?  This neighbor didn’t stand aside, worried about offending us or worried about being too nosy.  He didn’t worry about coming off as a know-it-all.  He didn’t worry about what we would think at all.  It’s because someone–a little one among us–was in danger and needed protection.

That mattered more than anything else. 

Living with flair means we help, protect, and advise our neighbors.   Especially when it comes to children. 

What keeps you from reaching out to help, protect, and advise? 

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  1. Last time my mom was in the hospital for surgery, I stood by and watched a nurse inject her with a hypodermic needle plunger that she had dropped on the floor!   I reacted viscerally with an adrenaline rush and an urge to stop her, but other social training took over, and I rationalized saying nothing.  “She must have replaced it within out my noticing,” and “Maybe the plunger doesn't actually come in contact with the medicine in the syringe” were the thoughts that helped me keep my mouth shut.  But really what prompted these thoughts in the first place was a half century of learning to be nice and to get along with people. 

    I don't want to be so nice that I don't confront issues that can harm people, especially those who are most vulnerable. Mom was unharmed, but I hope I can be more like your neighbor in the future. After all, I'm old enough to be confrontational!