Do I suffer in silence or speak up?

May 21st, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I am in my 60’s. I live in a cul-de-sac. There are families with children. The children yell and scream, run through other people’s yards and ride bikes through other people’ s yards and grass. This really upsets me and disturbs my peace. 

I feel like the only way to get peace is to move. I would love to have a peaceful dwelling place, an undisturbed place of rest. Should I make plans to move, or should I try to accept the situation and put up with it?

∼ Diane

Answer:

Dear Diane,

In our opinion, you should neither make plans to move nor should you put up with the status quo. We hope an ‘undisturbed place of rest’  (only available in a cemetery) is far off into your future.

Looking at your complaints, they fall into two separate categories. Children are noisy, especially in the summer months when they are outdoors. We assume that they go indoors at night and that you are referring to normal, daytime noise. Don’t merely accept that noise, embrace it. It is a sign of life. If for part of the time you want to nap or do a different activity that needs silence, invest in ear plugs.

Running through yards and destroying lawns is an entirely  different matter. Destruction and not respecting private property is completely unacceptable. However, the way to stop that behavior, in your yard at least, is to form relationships with your neighbors. Pick one neighbor at a time and get to know the parents and the children. You most likely have much to give each other.

Once you know the families and children as unique entities and individuals, court them a bit. Put out ice water or lemonade on your porch, pick up some inexpensive bubble bottles and hand them out or find other ways to build friendships. Once the people on the block know, like and respect you, you can request that they stay off your lawn. Our guess is that they will be happy to comply.

Happy summer,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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