I am going to tell you a little story about two neighbours, a church and a school.
Most would like to think that the neighbours have a friendly relationship, being that the school provides a great deal of parishioners to the church. And these parishioners are young and impressionable, new blood running through the veins of an ancient tradition. Some might even say the school provides the future of this church.
The relationship is not one-way. The church provides the school with a touchstone of tradition, a reminder of their heritage. It offers a place for reflection and quiet. The church provides a home base of belief for its young members.
Unfortunately the church does not seem to see the school as its lifeblood. The people that attend daily mass don’t like the rowdy students joyfully playing on the lawn or in the trees that are outside the church. Instead they build a garden bed and adorn it with ugly (though polite) signs that ask the playful students to keep out. When they see students too young to read stepping past the boundary and into the garden soil they are obvious in their displeasure at the disobedience.
The church does not like the mums loudly conversing and laughing outside their sacred space. After praying peacefully to their god, they make rude comments to the mums about them standing where they stand.
Instead of joyfully greeting and engaging with the school full of parishioners and the parents who pass by each day on their way here and there, the regular attendees of the church tut and shake their heads at the children. Rather than smile and chat they roll eyes and complain about the behaviour of the people who float by their church every day.
Perhaps if they did not seem so grumpy, perhaps if they were a bit friendlier the church would be seen as a welcoming place. Instead, many members of the school community go to another neighbour many streets away because they seem to embrace families and children in all their rowdiness.
Watching the two neighbours interact this way saddens me. It upsets me. Some days it even angers me.
It should not be like this. The neighbours should enjoy each other’s company, because in all honesty one would not exist without the other. The neighbours should have a joyful relationship where they like to spend time with each other. At the moment both neighbours are missing out. The grumpy old people who pray to the same god as the children in the school next door each morning might want to consider the wider impact they are having on their community.