A home is not just the four walls inside which you live. Your home is also your neighborhood. Saying this out loud means that I am outing my age, but I clearly recall watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with much the same interest at young children today watch Thomas the Train. He opened every show with his well-known theme song.
Mister Rogers tried to give us a daily reminder that in reality we are all neighbors, and that neighbors help each other. Building a sense of community is so important, especially now, surrounding all the negativity we hear about daily in the news. Instead of perpetuating the negative, here are some ways to show appreciation for a neighbor with these 10 random acts of neighborliness:
10 Random acts of Neighborliness
– Invite a neighbor whose family lives far away to celebrate the holidays with you. Nobody wants to be alone on a holiday. Well, almost nobody.
– If you have a lawn mower, offer to mow a lawn for a neighbor. (You know you really do enjoy riding on it anyway, so what’s a few more minutes.)
– Bring a meal to a neighbor who may be going through troubled times and in in need of a night without having to cook. Recently my neighbor (and close friend) brought over a homemade dinner for me during a particularly rough couple of weeks. It was such a sweet gesture, and so tremendously helpful.
– Bring shelf-stable food to the local food pantry. Ours was recently depleted and when word got out about it, they were flooded with generous donations.
– Before you head out to the supermarket, consider asking your neighbor if he or she needs anything from the store. Sometimes he or she just needs one or two items and can’t seem to get out the door to the store. If you have ever had babies and toddlers at home, you know just what I am talking about. Am I right? When one is sleeping and the other is having a tantrum, wouldn’t it be nice if someone alleviated that need to get milk at the store?
– If you have kids who love animals, perhaps they can get in the spirit too by offering to walk a neighbor’s dog or help give the dog some exercise.
– Host a get-together so your neighbors can get to know one another. The holidays are a great reason to have a lighthearted time with the people who live in your neighborhood.
– Take care of your home. Sure, that one may have raised an eyebrow or two. Yet when all the houses in a neighborhood are well cared for, the whole area will appear desirable and property values are more likely to remain higher. So it most certainly is neighborly to keep your home and property well maintained. It means that you take pride in not just your home, but your neighborhood too.
– Offer to shovel snow for a neighbor. Winter is on the way, you know! Last year, a nearby friend and her son generously offered to help me shovel my driveway. It was a lot of work, but it also brought about a lot of laughs too.
– Take some helpful items over to your local fire house or ambulance station. After 9/11 I made a point to do this annually. One year I purchased a gift certificate to a local restaurant that delivers so they could order in after a busy shift.
Living just a few miles from the World Trade Center made it easy to remember the sacrifices those men and women are willing to make every day. When we moved to a new state, however, I just got busy with other things around the holidays. Then last year I took some pies over to the fire house and emergency services personnel on Thanksgiving Day. They were so incredibly appreciative of both the delicious farm stand pies – and the gesture.
Last week I took some items over to our local firehouse once again. This time it was items to help keep our emergency responders healthy during the oncoming winter months.
In the spirit of our worldwide neighborhood, the Fred Rogers Company is launching a new website to celebrate good neighbors. At http://www.WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org/, you’ll find a place where we can all go to share stories of the beautiful things neighbors do.
Have you been the recipient of any of these types of acts? Maybe you and your family already do these things in your neighborhood. Please share your neighborly stories at http://www.WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org/. While you are at it, you can share them here too!