Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wish I had my camera

I've got to start bringing my camera into my office! I sit upstairs by a window and every once in a while I see some pretty neat stuff.

Today as I was working, I heard the sounds of a small child. As I looked out my window I saw a man on his bike riding in front of a small child on a bike with training wheels. The man seemed to be going rather slow, pedaling in a very measured way. I assumed they must be on an afternoon stroll and he didn't want to get too far ahead. The more I watched, I saw the child's bike jerk as if something were pulling it. As I looked closer, I realized that the man had tied a rope from his bike to the little child's bike, perhaps so she could learn to ride. As the man made a u-turn with his bike, he slowed to a complete stop so as not to topple the child.

It made me smile to watch the child being pulled by her dad/uncle/friend of the family...whoever he was.

I know there are many stereotypes of our inner city communities. And I'm not going to lie and say that none of them hold water. I know there are drug houses, absentee fathers, addicted mothers, and so much more.

But I also know there are moments like these.

Moments of joy. Moments of normalcy. Moments of quality time.

I have no idea what role that man plays--where he works, if he works, where he lives, if he is consistent in the lives of his children...I have no idea. But I know that was a special moment.

I wish more people had the opportunity to see those "special moments." I wish people wanting to change our inner cities would observe first...before going in with new programs and new ideas. I'm not saying there doesn't need to be change. I just wish we worked harder on tapping into and building on the community that is already present in our inner cities. We might discover some interesting dynamics that are already at work. We might discover that our best bet is to listen to, learn from, and partner with the people who are already there.
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