How do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can do to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own – by treating our ‘neighbor’ at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you!
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please?
Please won’t you be my neighbor?
-Mister Fred Rogers
Poll: Are you friends with your neighbors? Why or why not?
Are millennials less likely than the previous generation to be friends with neighbors? Does it even matter since we all have much larger social circles thanks to the internet?
Though the thought of becoming friends with our neighbors makes us giggle, lots of us do have meaningful friendships with our neighbors! It seems easier to make friends with our neighbors if we are planning to stick around for a while (though rampant housing instability makes this a challenge). We also tend to make friends when we rely on our neighbors; we lock ourselves out, we need our plants watered & our mail held when we go out of town, we are friend-less in a brand-new home, we need a last minute baby sitter… Sometimes we just need to vent about the terrible landlord/management company/local government/loud neighbor down the hall/street and they are the closest ear! We can, and should, celebrate this. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Making new friends is cool. The high school bully was wrong.
Take a moment to absorb Fred Rogers’ words. If you have a neighbor you don’t know, try introducing (or reintroducing!) yourself and chatting a little next time your paths cross! If it goes well, try dropping off some homemade veg food when you have some time! The interaction doesn’t have to be long, drawn out, fancy or perfect. (Plus, you barely know them. Be sure to follow the same rules of safety you do when dating!) It’s just treating our neighbor at least as well as we treat ourselves. Then basking in the afterglow; letting the kind gesture inform the rest of our day/weekend/week.
Then, well, you’ve got the rest covered. It’s either the beautiful bud of a meaningful friendship or an opportunity to replicate the gesture with another neighbor. Either way, baby-boomer family/friends will surely love hearing about it.