Well, so says Robert Frost. Here in Mexico, apparently, that old maxim is flexible.
When we first moved into our humble village digs, we put up a fence around the entire perimeter of our property -- most especially to keep out the wandering pigs, cows and horses. We had planted many new baby trees, and flowering bushes -- and we also didn't want their, um, contributions to our soil -- so easy to step in. We gently and repeatedly instructed our little next'door neighbor kids to NOT clamber over our fence, but instead, to come in by the gate -- just like ALL the other kids in the village do.
However, the parents decided, while we were Stateside this past summer, that such a good fence was a barrier which prevented them from gathering the widespread eggs from their many free-range chickens--all laid on OUR property. (Mind you, the chickens just fly over the fence, and wander our woodsy little-crawling-bug-filled-property for their meals.) So -- rather than walk down to the road and enter our property through our gate, they simply cut a square hole in the fence, right next to their house. THAT hole is for their kids to get through. As adults, mom and dad clearly roll over the top of the fence at another section between poles.
Our first day back, I went over to the fence to greet the laughing jumping kids (mom was in the background watching)-- and I saw that hole. The kids were trying to crawl through to greet me, but I reminded them to use the gate -- like all the other kids in the village do -- and off they ran. I looked at the mother, with a look of surprised incredulity, and she looked away impassively as though she had other things to do.
So I amend Robert Frost in this case. Deep patience and inner calm make good neighbors.