20 August 2010

Being a Good Neighbour in Your Neighbourhood

While I was working one day, I saw a woman drive into a pole.  She flattened her tire and damaged the driver side of her car.  It was an unfortunate sight.  She was obviously frustrated and upset with herself.  Just as she was going to get out of her car, a herd of about 20 teens walked by who had seen her accident.  They heckled, laughed at, and mocked her.  It was embarrassing to watch, let alone being in her position.  This was sad, teens living up to their “stereotype”.

Let’s imagine for a moment if these 20 teens had offered their help in changing her tire.  Maybe even looking to be sure that she was okay.  Imagine the power in that. Twenty teens assisting a woman who was in an accident.  What do you think that woman’s view of teenagers would be?  And all of those that witnessed this? I bet it would be amazing!  Instead, she had to wait for assistance from a company.

This got me thinking.  How are we towards our neighbours?  Do we offer our services to them in a time of need?  Or do we let organizations help them out while we sit back and watch? Do you even know the name of your neighbour?  Have you even said ‘Hi’ to them?  Let’s break down those walls that divide us.

The first thing you can do is break the ice with food.  If you have children, bake cookies or some treat with them.  Wrap them up and take the snacks, and your children who helped make them, over to your neighbour.  Food is a miracle worker.  Try to drop off the baked goods when they are home.

You can also perform acts of service.  If you share a driveway, shovel it.  If you share a front yard, mow it, rake it, and respect it.  Wave to them, and say ‘Hi’ when you see each other in passing.

Maybe you haven’t been a nice neighbour.  Own up, apologize, and give an offering of reconciliation.  Don’t yell.  Say please and thank you.  Don’t swear.  Be polite and civil. If you are nice to other people, they in turn will be nice to you, eventually.

Imagine what a neighbourhood would be like if we were all civil to eachother.  Imagine if every time someone moved in, the neighbourhood brought baked goods and introduced themselves.  How much more do you think that would mean to the new family moving in?  It would bring a bigger welcoming feeling than Welcome Wagon (which does do a great job of bringing the communities services to the new family).  It means a lot more to get welcomed into a city by people than by businesses.

Maybe it is time for you to go say “Hi. My name is…” to your neighbour.  They just might end up being your new friends.