Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Hard to Love Our Neighbors If We're Afraid to Get to Know Them

Saturday I read an op-ed piece that caught my attention. It did so because our neighborhoods, our country are getting more and more used to being told what we should be afraid of, that we no longer work at being community.

Entrepreneur and former educator Jon Myers, talks about the need to get back to that in his essay in this past weekend's Dallas Morning News:

"When I was a kid I knew all the neighbors – the Porters, the Hodges, the Stevens, the Skaggs – and they knew me. When I hit a baseball through the Porters' window, Mrs. Stevens, the lady across the street, scolded me and told my parents about it. But she also helped me earn money to pay for it by letting me mow her yard and shovel snow from her driveway. I was mad at her at first, but I grew to love Mrs. Stevens because she taught me a lesson in responsibility.
We had neighborhood cookouts and block parties. Halloween was awesome! I loved my neighborhood."

"We don't do neighborhoods like we used to."

"We don't do cookouts or block parties or Halloween or even look out for one another very much. How come? Maybe it's because we're too busy, or our neighbors are different from us, or it's a bother to stop for a conversation. Maybe it's lots of things."

"Ultimately, I think it is fear. I think we don't risk being known by our neighbors because we think it's safer to keep to ourselves and mind our own business. We think, "I'll just do my thing and hope my neighbor does his and we don't infringe on each other.""

"We're afraid of all sorts of things – offending someone, being known, being genuine, being hypocritical, being offended, being sued, being dragged into endless conversations when we have other things to do, having weeds, or, heaven forbid, violating a precious neighborhood covenant."

Ironically, the same day I read this, I got a flyer in the mail by our neighborhood association inviting me to a neighborhood block party!

I'll let you know how it turns out!!

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