What makes a neighbor a good neighbor? Is it someone that likes the same things as you? Is it someone that watches your dog while you’re away? Someone that car pools with you? Someone that leaves you alone?
The fact is, a good neighbor starts with you being a good neighbor. Be there when you are needed, invite them to backyard cookouts, share something with them that makes them feel like they know you but don’t force your highs and lows with them.
Finding something annoying about your neighbor is easy. Maybe they have loud kids, maybe they don’t keep their yard up like you do, maybe they butt in where they aren’t wanted. But they are still your neighbor, and you are their neighbor, so find something you can enjoy, even if it’s hard. It is easy to find the bad in people, and sometimes really….really, hard to find the good, but it is there.
When I was growing up I had neighbors that had kids nearly the same age as me. We did all sorts of mischievous things together. We got punished in different ways and at one point, really began to dislike each other. But we still had to live together, at least in the same neighborhood. We found a way to make it work and it wasn’t always easy. Now as I look back at it, those were some of the most fun days I have ever had.
A neighbor is possibly one of the most valuable assets you can have these days, but you have to be equally as valuable to them. What’s even better than a neighbor? …an entire neighborhood. Your neighbors might not be perfect, but neither are you. They may even be annoying at times, but so are you. The fact is that no one is closer, other than family, to you, than your neighbors. In the end they want the same thing as you, to live their lives free of fear and as comfortably as they can. So if you want good neighbors, you have to start by being a good neighbor yourself.
Becky Mattson of Lakeside, Montana created Good Neighbor Day in the early 1970’s. Jimmy Carter made a proclamation (#4601) to launch it in 1978. It was always the 4th Sunday in September until 2003 when it was changed to September 28th.
How to celebrate – If you don’t know your neighbors, go meet them. Find out your neighbors’ likes and dislikes and adjust yourself accordingly. Try and get your neighborhood involved in some common interest – everyone will be the better for it.