DALLAS — Whoever said fences make good neighbors never lived in a time when we just want to hug a neighbor and can’t.
But those are the times we’re living in, and Lakewood mom Emily Kryder is using the time to teach empathy.
“That’s the word this week – empathy,” she said. “We don’t know exactly what somebody is going through, but we can still empathize with how sad or scared or alone they might feel.”
Emily spoke to WFAA via FaceTime.
She held 9-month-old Finn in her arms, while 4-year-old Ewan and 6-year-old Liam squirmed beside her in a bedroom.
WFAA reporter Teresa Woodard stood outside the home, admiring the family’s artwork adorning their fence.
“We can’t go see our neighbors, so we thought we’d write a message for our neighbors!” Emily explained.
They used chalk to write “Everything will be OK,” “We’re in this together,” and “Stay home, save lives,” in big letters along their fence facing Abrams Road.
Liam said it was meant to tell people, “we can do everything if we all put our minds to it.”
“Deep inside your heart, there’s more hope,” he added.
Emily said she was feeling anxious one day and decided the chalk art might help calm her nerves.
She got outside with the boys and discovered just how therapeutic the process was.
“I realized I’m not alone in this feeling,” she said. “We’ve got this huge fence and we can do something for our neighbors to make them feel a little less scared and a little less alone.”
She’s been telling her boys scientists are working hard “to fight the bad germs.”
Liam and Ewan didn’t seem too worried.
“We feel grateful,” Liam said, about the scientists’ work.
Emily hopes her sons remember not only the empathy, but the realization that fences don’t have to divide. They can also unite.
“Mom and dad are here to keep you safe, even if it means we have to keep you home,” she said, “for a really, really long time."