The Kid Next Door

“I’ll go you one further, and this is the routine that has virtually ended my career in America. If you have children here tonight—and I assume some of you do—I am sorry to tell you this. They are not special. I’ll let that sink in. Don’t get me wrong, folks. I know you think they’re special. You think that. I’m telling you—they’re not.”   (The late, great Bill Hicks.  The cleanest part of his routine, “Your Children Aren’t Special.”)

Contrary to what some of my friends and colleagues may think, I do not dislike children.  Quite the opposite.  I generally love kids, and the kids I don’t love, I generally ignore. 

Which brings me to the kid next door.  I’m missing his graduation party because this work thing gets in the way.   Too bad.  His parents throw a good party.

Anyway, this kid is graduating from Loomis-Chaffee, and going to Colby in the fall.  He is a child of a couple who worked very hard to afford him many of the privileges life can offer, including travel and a nice car.  He has a sport and the attending equipment for all seasons.  He is a handsome lad with a killer smile.  It all adds up to someone who might be easy to despise.

Obviously, this is not one of those “up by the bootstraps” stories, but it’s almost as good.  This is one of those “he really appreciates what he has, and makes the most of what he’s offered” stories.

From what I have observed over the past 7 years, this kid really gets it.   He has everything he needs and possibly everything he wants, but he doesn’t seem the least bit spoiled.

I have seen him extend kindnesses to others, most especially younger kids.  He is unfailingly polite to his elders.   

Is this special?  If it is, it shouldn’t be.  It should be normal.

Good luck, Matthew.



About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
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4 Responses to The Kid Next Door

  1. Cathy says:

    Growing up, I was taught to to say “please”,’thank you” and to respect my elders.To this day being 49 yrs old,when I see my parents old neighbors, I still call them Mr& Mrs.They tell me to call them {by their names} but it feels weird. I have always taught my boys to be respectful and guess what? They are. Your right shouldnt be special,it should be normal. There are children out there who do respect others. But some just don’t get it.

    As for Matthew-good luck on your journey of life. You deserve it….. Nice story.

  2. We were behind this kid in the checkout line the other day. About 17 is my guess. Six three. Thin as a rail, but in an athletic way. Baseball cap. One of those official MLB caps, not the one size fits all type. Kid’s one of the few these days who know his hat size. In the brief interaction we had with him ( he called my wife ma’am ) and from what we witnessed of his interaction with the clerk – he’s the kind of kid you write about in this post. They’re out there. God love ’em.

  3. Linda says:

    Thank you for sharing this story with us. We always hear about the “bad” ones. Working in a public library you see all kinds of kids, all kinds of behavior and all kinds of parenting. I try to treat everyone with patience, kindness and respect, but when I see a kid who is exceptionally nice or a parent who does the right thing (having the child say thank you, or not rewarding bad behavior), I let them know I appreciate their behavior. I agree with Cathy, I still call the parents of kids I used to babysit Mr. and Mrs. and I still call my two 20-something daughter’s teachers Mr. or Mrs. I am very fortunate that my daughters turned out exceptionally well. I couldn’t teach them to cook because I’m a disaster in the kitchen, but I did my best to teach them how to respect others, kindness, right from wrong, that they could live without a lot of “things”, and they had consequences if they misbehaved. I am so very proud of them!

  4. Gerry says:

    Nice points from all of you. They are out there.

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