Thursday, May 19, 2011

I am $400 away. Be Inspired By Me.

I am $400 dollars away. Yes! My goal was $3,000 to help support Pyramid’s arts & education programs that inspire, educate and build community.

I am almost there. Help me raise the $400 I need to reach my goal. Its week 12, 4 weeks to go!!!!

But first, your moment of inspiration. So what inspires me this week: Love.

My wife and I moved into Silver Spring, into our Long Branch neighborhood in 2000. It was just before the housing market blew up and you could still afford to buy a house.

There was talk of gang activity in the neighborhood and the elementary school on the corner seemed so overcrowded with portable classrooms out on the ball field. We were nervous about the neighborhood, but we had a 6 month old
son and had grown out of our one bedroom apartment at Falkland Chase.

Our neighbors were terrible. Our first year on this street the family next door would play music till 2 pm or 3 pm in the morning. There were times when we would find people asleep in the cars next door. There was one morning when a car showed up at 5 am and honked the horn for 15 minutes until I came out and it finally pulled away. There was litter on their front yard, guys drinking beer out front all afternoon. I called the cops at least twice to break up parties that went way too long into the night. I always considered myself to be an open minded, tolerant person, but I wasn’t. I liked the “idea” of diversity, but it found it very difficult to practice. I didn’t like my neighbors. I wanted them to move or to be more precise, I wanted them to be more like me and my wife.

So, one day, when Joshua was 3, we were outside kicking the soccer ball around. Their was a young boy he looked about 6, standing in the front yard of our neighbor’s house He and Joshua spotted each other. The young boy’s soccer ball rolled over into our yard .Joshua kicked it back. He rolled it over again and my son kicked it back again. This went on for about 5 minutes and then it was time to go inside. I asked the boy his name. “Mago,” he said. The next day my son saw Mago outside playing with his cousins and asked to join them. I said sure and went outside with him and we all played together. I watched as Mago’s aunt and uncles carefully watched over my son as they played and made sure everyone stayed out of the street. I watched as they participated in the game and cheered their kids on. I chatted with the uncles about soccer in Spanish. They asked me where I was from. “Cuba”, I said and we talked about great Cuban baseball players. After a while, it was time to go in, but this day began what would become a tradition of playing soccer in our front yard with our neighbors.

I am grateful to my son. He was the bridge. Because of my son, my wife and I got to know our neighbors. We learned that despite our differences on the outside, there were not many differences on the inside. They loved their kids and we loved ours and that was enough. My son helped me put all of my prejudices aside and be a better father, a better neighbor, a better person. I learned that when you love your child, you just want them to be happy and when you do, you forget about the things that bother you and before you know it, those things that bothered you, don’t anymore. They get replaced with things you learn about yourself and your neighbors.

I hope I inspired you today.

Make a contribution, in any amount to my Pyramid Atlantic fundraising campaign by clicking here. If you were thinking about contributing, but wanted to wait to see how far I would get, look at me now! I am almost there and a contribution of any amount from you, will get me that much closer. Have a great week.

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