A Disturbing Survey
I came across some disturbing news this week and that is the lack of social cohesion, I’m specifically speaking to the lack of knowing your neighbors. If you don’t know your neighbors this tends to led to social isolation, loneliness and a lack of trust in other people. Overall this isn’t good for your own emotional or physical well-being.
The millennial generation has a tendency to keep their eyes focused on their cell phones, ipads and the like. Millennials needs to be connected with the outside world, but may I ask, who is going to help you out when you have sprained your ankle and need someone to mow your lawn, or bring your groceries up to your apartment? Will it be the facebook friend? Or is it more likely to be your next door neighbor?
The recent survey of millennials revealed that 64% of them said they didn’t know their neighbors. That’s a sad state of affairs.
Neighbors of the Past
I can remember growing up and with 24 kids on the neighborhood block we all knew each other, played with each other, and the parents knew each other (moms in particular knew the other moms and the phone numbers of all of the neighbors). We had neighbor party get-togethers. My mother, for years would have a New Year’s Eve open house for all of the neighbors. Neighbors would come in and out and connect with each other. Then during the summer we would chat with each other as we all took care of our lawns, rode our bicycles up and down the street and gave each other rides to and from the emergency room (if a kid had injured themselves and the mom didn’t have access to a car). It was almost expected that we would help each other out if asked.
Our neighborhood was cohesive, we felt a part of it, this helped us feel a part of our local community.
Nowadays this isn’t happening, and that’s a sad picture of how disconnected we have become. The more disconnected we are, the more lonely we are.
The community I currently live in, I can honestly say I know 4 out 9 of them. Could I know them better? Definitely. But I can at least carry on an initial conversation with them and ask intelligent questions.
What Does it Take to be Neighborly?
So then, what does it take to be neighborly? A friendly wave of your hand when you get home and see one of them out and about, inviting one of them over to your place for a cup of tea or coffee, saying ‘hi’ when they are out tending to their lawn, walking out of your residence when you hear your neighbor is out and walking over and introducing yourself to them. There is very little effort in any of these actions, but the benefit to you socially, emotionally and physically can be major (you will feel increased trust in human beings, decreased loneliness and feel less socially isolated and feel as though you are a part of your local community).
So how about starting now with making some plans for a neighborhood get-together on Tuesday August 6th, which is National Night Out? This is the night that is recognized as being the time where neighbors get to know each other. Over the next couple of days go knock on your neighbor’s doors and ask them about participating. Plan a BBQ, or some chalk games on the sidewalk for the kids, or invite your neighbors over to your place for some cold watermelon and cold drinks. Take the initiative, you’ll be glad you did. Once you know your neighbors, then you can begin sharing with them the good news of the gospel. So take that first step and go for it!
The video below shows you one way of combining social media with being neighborly: