Wednesday, November 04, 2009

No hobos

The kids were walking down a busy city street with me on their way to get my latte and their donuts. There was no school (yet another professional development day for the teachers) and I was taking them to my office to have breakfast in the meeting room then over to a back-up child care center for the day.

"I want to be a hobo for Halloween next year," announced one of my 9 year old sons as he held my hand. His brother was a few steps ahead while their younger sister was on my other side.

"No you can't," I told him.

"Why?" he asked. I knew my answer would appear in less than a city block.

The man emerged from one of the many nooks inside the buildings along this street. He wore a torn, dirty coat and his pants were too big. His beard was shaggy and filthy. His two bags bulged with their contents. He struggled to pick them up and moved slowly down the street.

"That's why you can't be a hobo" I told my son. "Hobo is an old-fashioned word for someone who is poor and homeless. Do you really want to poke fun at that man?"

"No" my son said quietly.

Unbeknownst to me his brother was overhearing this conversation. We passed another nook and this son asked "so homeless people try to find spots like this to sleep?"

"Yes" I answered.

And then we walked into the coffee shop.

6 comments:

Betsy said...

With all the snarking that usually goes on in many "MommyBlogs" it's so refreshing to read a post about passing on a lesson in compassion!

I lurk here all the time and just figured it was time I left you a comment to tell you I enjoyed this post. (and many others!)

soccer mom in denial said...

Thanks Betsy! So nice of you to de-lurk and say hi.

mojenn said...

What I love about this moment is that it your "no" has a concrete "why" behind it. This isn't just a "because I said so" answer but one that with perfect timing was reinforced so he could see just what it all means.
Well done, once again, on teaching and modeling the social justice this country is in such need of.

Ambassador said...

Darling A...

I want to be you when/if I grow up.

Great post.

Hugs and Mushy stuff.

K

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This is one of those perfect "show" not "tell" moments.

Lovely post.

Heather said...

I want to be you when I'm a mommy. Oh. wait. Um.

This is so awkward.

You rock.