Living Streets Association | 2013
After school on Fridays, a huddle of kids big and small will walk home together from the nearby school. Like little ducklings, the small ones will follow the big ones, crossing the road safely, chatting and laughing along the way.
When they get to the end of the street, they suddenly start running. Why? Because we had started a game called, “how many neighbours’ bins can you put away?”. Just like that, the kids have fun while doing a small contribution for the neighbours on the street. Sometimes, if the kids get carried away with their speed, the older ones have to remind them to put the bins away neatly.
Most neighbours appreciated this kind action from the children, and thought it was very sweet of them. However, there was one person on the street who did not like the children touching things on his property. The kids had blocked the bin in front of his garage one too many times, and one afternoon he came out to yell at the unlucky kid who had gotten up to his bin. He then stuck a big note on the lid of his bin asking us to not pull his bin in. We were a little shocked at his response, but realised that we had to respect his boundaries. So the weekend after, we delivered a sorry note to his mailbox and promised to not touch his bin.
It is a difficult but important process to guide the children to be kind to others while being aware and respectful of others’ preferences. The children realised this and made sure to do the job properly in the future. Thankfully, other neighbours gave encouragement and sometimes, little rewards to thank the kids for their service, which helped them to bounce back quickly from the incident. They were able to learn to respect people’s requests, as well as continue to serve the community.