Several months ago, my husband and I bought a house on a lake. It’s in a busy neighborhood only a short walking distance from our downtown area, and as a result, there are always lots of kids around.
Today as I was pulling out of my driveway to run some errands, a couple of kids approached me and asked if they could swim in our backyard. They were probably in fifth or sixth grade. I hesitated. There’s a public beach not far away, but it’s $3 per person and they said that there were ten of them and they only had $10. I apologized but told them I wasn’t comfortable having them swim while I was gone because I’d be responsible if anything happened to them. They offered to have an older cousin watch them, but I still said no and left.
The thing is, I’m not crazy about having anyone swim on our property, whether I’m around or not. Is this selfish? Would you let neighborhood kids swim on your property? How would you explain it without sounding rude? Would you set up any ground rules?
In related news, when we first moved in, a very nice couple across the street said that the lady we bought the house from used to let their grandkids swim in the backyard and would it be okay if they continued to do this. I agreed without really thinking it through. Now I feel like we need to make some decisions and be consistent with everyone. So what do you think? Do I need to lighten up and let the kiddies swim? Only if there’s a parent nearby? Only if I’m around? Or can I still be loving and neighborly without letting anyone onto our property, and if so, how do I word this?