Getting To Know Your Neighbors Creates Community

Posted: 11/27/2013

In our fast-paced, stress-filled world we often don't create the opportunities that we need in order to get to know our neighbors. In days past, good neighbor relations were the staple of every strong community. Being able to share life's experiences, both good and bad, with those who live so close to us was once considered one of life's greatest blessings.

These days it is the exception rather than the rule to take the time to create strong relationships with the people we share our community with. Each one of us has a story to tell, a hand to lend, a laugh to share, and friendship to give. What keeps us from extending so much of ourselves to the families that live around our own may be those same things that prevent us from experiencing many of the great blessings of our parents or of our youth: A changing world that focuses more on the individual than the family and the need to remain isolated in order to feel "safe and secure."

Someone once said, "If you always do the things you did, you'll always get the things you got." If we want to grow as a community then we have to risk breaking free from the bonds of isolation that are so easily created by and for us. We must reach out to our neighbors and let them know that they matter and that we care. If we do that, even in the most seemingly insignificant of ways - like a wave as we pass on the street - then we are moving toward a better community and a better way to live.

This is a great time of the year to start making contact with the neighbors you don't know and create a stronger bond with the ones you are already in touch with. Here are a few ideas on how you can make this process fun:

-Organize an after holiday party: Invite your neighbors for a little get-together a day or two after Thanksgiving and share their leftovers (also a great way to avoid wasting food!).

-Staying connected has gotten a lot easier with technology, so why not use it in your community too? Ask your neighbors to add them on your Facebook page and create a private group page on which you can share holiday recipes, travel tips and stay in touch.

-If you know that someone will not be having family around over the holidays, invite them to join your family and friends at your party.

-Offer to trade babysitting or pet-sitting hours.

Just because our busy lives have pushed us away from our communities doesn't mean it is right, it just means that we have to work that much harder in order to reconnect with one another and create a better environment in which to live.