Monday, October 28, 2013

Lessons from the Neighborhood

When I was a child, there were adults in my neighborhood who played special roles. They were characters who entertained and taught us in their own special way.

There was Mr. W.T., who sat on his front porch and threw candy at us like it was a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Isiah, whom we called “Wise,” always had a sing-song rhyme of a wisdom saying that sounded more like “pool hall banter” than a proverb. And then there was Mr. Alvin, who was the self-proclaimed Sheriff of the neighborhood. He actually walked around with a toy badge and an unloaded Colt 45. He saw his job as making sure that things were running smoothly in the neighborhood. But if there were any signs of conflict, like Barney Fife of Mayberry, he would often complicate matters and someone else would have to come in and clean things up.

Mr. Richard, who drove his 1975 Pontiac Grand Ville like Richard Petty in the Daytona 500, played rule enforcer. He had the keys to the neighborhood park and wouldn’t allow profanity, violence, or mischief to occur on park grounds.
And there was Mrs. Patterson, who made homemade cupcakes and had a choice selection of grape, orange, or strawberry soda. We could buy a cupcake and soda for a quarter at her house - and get a lecture on the importance of saving money while we were there.

Many of the lessons I learned in childhood seemed to center around the basketball court in the neighborhood park. I watched my adult neighbors practice fairness, responsibility, and doing their share to make our community better. I learned about honesty, patience, compassion, generosity, courage, gratitude, forgiveness, loyalty, and respect by walking up and down the streets.  

But it didn’t stop there. I saw many of the same adults in church on Sunday mornings worshipping God.  They were ushers, greeters, lay speakers, Sunday school teachers, confirmation class mentors, and choir members. 

Like the mentors who trained their protégés by walking around using hands-on teaching; I was taught that character is about who we are and what we do when people aren’t watching us. I learned how to “walk the walk” of Christian character.

--Dr. Quincy Brown, Vice President for Spiritual Life and Church Relations at LaGrange College. North GA Ann Conf.

God Is Still in Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

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