Every Monday Matters: Be neighborly
By Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) The average dual-career couple works a combined 18.2 hours a day.
Urban sprawl is creating longer commutes — approximately 25 minutes per day.
People spend less than 15 minutes per day doing outside chores and gardening compared to more than 3 hours watching TV or movies and surfing on the Internet.
The average person or family has friends over for dinner about 45 percent less often than they did in the 70s.
In 1926, the first electric automated garage door opener was invented by
The increased number of fenced backyards, coupled with the disappearance of front porches and verandas, has privatized residences more than ever.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
1. Meet a neighbor you've never met before. Simply knock on the door and introduce yourself. Take over something you've baked or grown in your garden, or invite them to your house for a beverage or a snack.
2. Make yourself more available to your neighbors.
3. Mow your front lawn, wash your car, go for a walk, or play with your children outside. Or, if you see neighbors doing the same, go out and visit.
4. Plan a neighborhood yard sale or a block party.
5. Write a quarterly neighborhood newsletter.
Does your mailman know your neighbors better than you do? It's not enough to just drive by and wave to neighbors from your car window. To get to know your neighbors, you need to have personal interaction with them. But these days, people spend more time indoors watching TV and surfing the Internet than they do outside playing catch, taking walks, and talking to their neighbors. Change that pattern… Be counterculture. Remember, you have to be a good neighbor to have a good neighbor.
We live in neighborhoods, but can we really call them communities? The word community somewhat implies a togetherness, a bond, or awareness for others. But it seems like in the days of our high stress, fast-paced lives, we have forgotten about the beauty of what it means to all be in this together.
More to the point, the word "neighbor" is defined as "a person who lives near another; a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward fellow humans." This begs the question: "Are you a good neighbor?"
As Julie Limmell of
Julie is not alone. Many people do not know the names of their neighbors. I am not sure if I created this theory or not, but, besides our busy lives, I believe it is the electric garage door that deserves a lot of the blame. We get up and get ready for our day, walk into our garages, get in our cars, open the garage door, and off we go. And we finish the day with the exact opposite routine. We are always behind a door, a wall, or a piece of glass, never in a position for a happy run-in with our neighbors.
"My husband and I have lived in our neighborhood for almost 3 years," said Julie. "We both have full time jobs, so we are basically at home for breakfast, dinner, and sleep. A couple months ago, I came to the sad realization that I felt lonely when I was at home, so I had an idea..."
Julie and her husband realized that part of their issue was that they didn't know any of their neighbors. Not one thing about them. They lack a sense of family...a community.
"We decided that, with summer here, we are going to throw a block party," shared Julie. "We are going to move our barbeque to the front yard and buy a bunch of hot dogs and hamburgers for a little cook out."
Not only did they come up with a simple, yet effective way to bring the neighborhood together, but they have also gotten everyone involved in the planning.
"We create an invitation that we put in everyone's mailbox," said Julie. "Not only was it to invite them, but to also ask them to bring specific items. Some people were asked to bring something to drink and others were asked to bring snacks. We wanted to involve them in the whole process."
The response they have received is amazing. Nine of the 10 houses they invited have RSVP'ed and are bringing their items.
"I am not really sure what to expect, but I am really excited about this coming weekend," shared Julie. "I just hope that we can all come together and have a good time. Hopefully we can all be friends...and finally be neighbors. I will let you know how it goes."
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© 2009, The Modesto Bee Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services