When we think about being a good neighbor, quotes by Fred Rogers, best known as the creator and star of the children’s educational television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, often come to mind. He wisely shared, “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”
Neighbors are more than just people who live nearby. Together they make up a community. To achieve a healthy and well-balanced mutual relationship, words must be kind and generous, and actions patient and with understanding. Here are some ways to be a great neighbor:
1) Great neighbors are courteous and friendly. A smile, a wave hello, or a kind exchange of words can change someone’s day for the better. Some social gatherings are often enjoyable and allow neighbors to bond.
2) Help without expecting anything in return. For example, an elderly neighbor is having difficulty carrying grocery bags. Offer to lend a helping hand. Not only will it benefit your neighbor but doing good for others has a way of making the helper feel good, too.
3) Be responsible for your own property. This demonstrates pride and respect for your home but also for your neighborhood. Pick up trash and after your pet. And use common sense by following and respecting community rules and laws.
4) Follow etiquette regarding lending and borrowing. Neighbors often lend out items to one another. Whenever you borrow anything from anyone, be sure to say thank you and always return items in the same shape or better than when it was loaned it to you. For example, return a lawn mower clean or cleaner than it was when you borrowed it.
5) Honor boundaries. While it is wonderful to enjoy time with neighbors, it’s important to establish and respect one another’s personal boundaries so that there is a balance between time spent together and time apart.
6) Avoid gossip. Good neighbors do not ask too many questions, get involved in negative talk, or spread news or misinformation. Instead, they focus on being cheerful, positive, and kind.
7) Show respect. Use behavior that demonstrates you care. For example, do not throw late wild, parties or play music so loud that it disturbs others. Furthermore, attempt to handle neighborhood controversies with grace and peace whenever possible.
Being a neighbor is more than living near or next door to someone, for people are connected by their communities to one another. We are all called to be our best selves so that we may live together in harmony. Mr. Rogers shared much wisdom when he said, “All we’re ever asked to do in this life is to treat our neighbor – especially our neighbor who is in need – exactly as we would hope to be treated ourselves. That’s our ultimate responsibility.”
Get the dialogue going. What qualities make for good neighbors? In what ways does your community promote being a good neighbor?
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