How do you "neighbor"?
As the Daniel Tiger song goes, "a neighbor is here to help, a neighbor is here to help". Coincidentally the episode all about ways to be a neighbor was on this morning. I love this show! How silly of me but it is truly my favorite kids show because I am learning too. Learning the little songs to help me in my many moments of parenting challenges. I even have the DT Parents app on my phone which features all the songs when you may need them on the go.
Our real estate agent held an open house and pie event for the neighbors to come over about a month after we moved in. It was interesting because some of the people didn't know each well and this was a good opportunity to say hello and reconnect a neighborhood. If that hadn't happened, I don't know if the one neighbor would have left some of their surplus garden veggies for us this summer, which we loved. We had a garden at the old house but not yet here.
During the first week of moving in, there were a few people that really reached out to us. Homemade cookies were handed out, conversations were had, and a gift for the kids was left on the porch. It was so incredibly sweet. On trick or treating night, one couple gave each of the kids a super nice treat basket (with large chocolate bars) since they were not going to be handing out candy at their house. I guess there haven't been many young kids in the neighborhood lately and they seem to enjoy seeing and hearing them around. Its so nice to be thought of, especially for the kids. I'm doing my best to write down names and try to remember to use them when I see people.
My daughter is so amusing to me, mostly because she is not like I was as a child. She will go over to the fence and try to get someone's attention or yell out the window that some noise is too loud. It cracks me up because she is more gutsy than I am even now. She is actually very sweet with other people. I love her so much and she is growing up. She was a little bit older than 3 1/2 right when we moved in and started preschool in the Fall.
My daughter is a better neighbor than I am naturally. When I moved into the house we just got out of, I was single and young, age 23 to the day. I had no clue what I was getting into. Mowing the yard, maintaining the outside of the home, trimming the bushes, shoveling, these were all new to me. Most apartments took care of those things. I was awkward about these tasks and didn't like to ask for help. Self-sufficiency was a big hinderance on my walk with God and how I shared God's love through my life. For several years, I kept to myself and didn't interact or even smile or wave much. My neighbors probably thought I was stuck up or rude or maybe they didn't even care. How would I know?
When I had a bad situation come up and a cop car was in my driveway, one neighbor reached out. I was still a bit standoffish but it was nice to know someone cared. Years later when my husband moved in, he opened the lines of communication up with my other neighbors. There had been a silly misunderstanding about a property line that honestly looking back was so ridiculous on my part. Why do people let a strip of land destroy their lives?
My husband showed me the power of a wave, a simple hello, and smile. Eventually I think they warmed up to me too. There was even a couple times that our kids played together outside.
Right now we are entering into the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are times when many people are more friendly and giving and these are also times when people isolate and may seem cold. It is easy to react and think what is wrong with some people. Driving gets a little crazier when snow hits the road and now its getting dark earlier. Tempers flare up because we are all so busy, too busy. So how do you neighbor? Are you like my little girl who has a social friendly heart or like me who has to push herself outside of her comfort zone?
I'd love to hear your comments about what your favorite way to neighbor? Maybe we could give each other some new ideas.
God , Thank you for the growth in my ability to neighbor and see the value in everyday moments to share your love. Thank you for the seasons and times when we focus on giving. I know it is all because of your gift of Jesus but not everyone does. Help us to show that Jesus truly is the reason for the season. Help us to stay humble, gracious, and forgiving as the family dynamics and pressures to entertain may shift our attitudes. In your name, amen.
Thank you! God Bless