The Neighbor Challenge Segue
by Valisha Reber on September 7, 2012
Thank you for joining me on this journey. The last several weeks have been eye-opening as we have intentionally set out to meet and know our neighbors. Honestly assessing our fears and assumptions has led us to make changes and take chances. We’ve made that long walk across the street…and survived! But, like the childhood tune “The Song That Never Ends” neither does the challenge of building relationships with our neighbors. So, what’s next? Segue, please.
There’s a transition that happens once we know our neighbor’s names, learn more about the things they care about, and change our habits so that we are a visible presence on our street. We have moved from being strangers to having a connectedness that lends itself to:
Helping: Retrieve your neighbor’s garbage can from the curb, offer to water plants when someone has surgery or is out-of-town, or lend a hand when you see someone carrying a heavy load.
Sharing: Lend tools, give away vegetables or flowers from your garden, have a conversation.
Connecting: Introduce other neighbors to each other and to community resources/information. For example, our neighborhood uses a web platform that allows neighbors to share information. Recently a neighbor shared that she is starting her own cupcake business, so I “connected” her to the site as a (free) way for her to spread the word. Telling other neighbors about her business, or introducing her to someone else with a similar interest/background is another way I can serve as connector on her behalf.
Hospitality: Invite a neighbor for dessert, host a cookout, throw a block party. Think about ways to showcase the gifts of your neighbors whenever possible.
Associations: Organize a neighborhood group (this can be broader than but include “watch” groups), start a knitting group, running club, or dance class. (My neighborhood has the last two!), band together around a specific need (tutoring, crossing guards for a local school, alley maintenance).
The Neighbor Challenge doesn’t end here. Our final corporate challenge is this: to continue and to encourage others to begin. I’ll be sharing stories periodically as I continue, and I would love to hear and share your stories! Comment here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the whole series: