Former high school English teacher and member of the Lake Superior Writers who enjoys gardening and outdoor activities.
You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your neighbors. If you are lucky, you have good ones, but some are unpleasant and make your life miserable. If you have good neighbors, consider yourself blessed. Neighbors can play an important role in our community and our lives, and remember, you are a neighbor too.
By definition, a neighbor is someone who lives close to you, but "close" is a relative term. For the citydweller, the neighbor is probably someone in the next apartment, but for the suburban family, the neighbor is a bit further away. And for those who live out in rural areas, neighbors may live a mile or two away.
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What's a Good Neighbor?
But what's a good neighbor?
- A good neighbor is friendly and considerate. Though good neighbors may live close, they respect your space and privacy.
- Good neighbors wave at you, may stop to pet your dog and chat, and buy lemonade from your children. Good neighbors take time to talk and smile. They reach out to connect to you.
- Good neighbors' actions support community. A good neighbor looks out for others. This idea is illustrated in communities throughout the United States that have developed neighborhood watches. To deter crime and violence neighborhood watches comprised of people who are good neighbors have developed. Their goal is to keep watch on each other's homes so if a burglar is prowling about, or suspicious people are casing out someone's home, a watchful neighbor calls the proper authorities to investigate the situation.
- Good neighbors help each other. For example, in my community we sometimes get heavy snowfall. When this happens, younger people in the community go out and shovel for people who are older or who have medical problems that prevent them from shoveling. Also, people help each other when cars get stuck, a common occurrence during the winter months.
- Most importantly, good neighbors are respectful. They consider the others who live around them. They avoid keeping others awake with loud parties or barking dogs. They mow their lawns and maintain their property. Thet try to keep their kids to be respectful too.
Why Are Good Neighbors Important?
Good neighbors are important. According to the old African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." Our neighbors are our village. My son knows our neighbors, and I'm glad for that. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where I have good neighbors. My son has had the opportunity to learn from the older gentlemen in the neighborhood, and being exposed to these older men has enriched his life. They, in turn, have gotten a lot of joy from associating with my son. My son has also played and done activities with others in the neighborhood, and through neighbors, he's come to appreciate the idea that we have something in common with everyone. Perhaps sometimes we should focus on our similarities and not our differences.
Ask yourself, "Am I a good neighbor?" Remember you get what you give. Try to be a good neighbor.