Fight the Filth

The weather around here has finally cooled-- our highs are mid 70's, which to this acclimated girl feels pretty darn cold if there's a brisk wind accompanying it. :)

To take advantage of the temperature, the kids and I went to the park the other afternoon. They invited all of their neighborhood friends, so I ended up escorting a mini parade of scooter-riding, chalk-toting young ones down the road to the playground.

However, when I sat down on a bench to watch them all frolic and play, to my horror I noticed that almost every conceivable surface was covered in the most graphic, vile graffiti I'd ever seen! The tables, the stairs, the slides {both inside and out!} were all defiled by crude drawings and words. For the moment, the kids didn't seem to notice-- most of them couldn't even read-- but I felt far too uncomfortable to just sit there. I ran back home for a sec and grabbed a magic eraser, washcloths, and a bucket of soapy water, then tried to surreptitiously scrub the worst of it away.

Of course, all the kids wanted to know what I was doing. They eagerly asked if they could help, and at first I refused, telling them that they needed to play, not look at the awful things someone had sharpie-d all over the playground. Miss C kinda rolled her eyes and said, "Trust me, we've seen it," and grabbed a washcloth.

It wasn't long before all my kids, their friends, and perfect strangers joined in. At one point, a man showed up with his little girl and asked if we'd tried rubbing alcohol. He ran home and got a bottle while one of the neighbor kids gathered scouring pads and more buckets of water from her parents.

It took an hour and a half, but every single kid helped scrub away the graffiti, and they were all so proud of themselves. It was touching to see them encourage each other and feel a sense of ownership for 'their' park. When we were finished, one of the parents passed out leftover Halloween candy and congratulated them on a job well done.

So often as a parent, I feel the need to shelter and protect my children from the ugliness in the world. There seems to be far too much lewdness and pain out there. But as we all worked together to repair the damage done to the park, I felt assured that there is value in teaching them that they don't have to be victims to the evil in the world. They can take action. They can stand up for what they know is right. They don't have to avert their eyes and pretend that it doesn't exist in order to maintain their goodness. They can stare it in the face and proclaim, "I will not accept this in my life," and then do something to make the world better.

This next generation is going to be awesome.

{image via}


The Dragonfly said...

I love this story! It should be sent in to the Friend! :) Your kids helping you to bring the much needed innocence back to a sweet play area. Seriously, the world needs more moments like that, more people like you and those who helped!

Crys said...

You are so awesome. I am glad Jones has a big sis to experience all these things, and lead the way in the parenting world.

Singin' Heart said...

Wow, what a story! Thank you for sharing it. I don't know if I would have gone home to get supplies, thinking " I clean enough at my own house".
Way to take charge and what an experience for all the kids to have had.
We sure have some strong kids!!

Miggy said...

Um, I LOVE that you did that. You're an awesome mom.

The Queen Vee said...

Well done Melancholy, one person can make a difference!!!!

Nicole said...

Yes, this is awesome and just the thing I've been trying to find for our family to do, get involved and help, not shun. Thanks!

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