Monday, December 28, 2015

To Be a Good Neighbor

 

 "Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness
and little things in between."
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Over the past few generations, American women have largely lost their sense of community.  Social media has made it easy to know what is happening in other people's lives without connecting with them in any meaningful way.  A woman may have hundreds of "friends" on Facebook, but not know any of her neighbors.  A lady knows that screen relationships are no substitute for flesh and blood neighborly bonds.

When my family first moved into our neighborhood, Carol, a retired school teacher three houses down, appeared on our doorstep with a friendly greeting and a loaf of homemade zucchini-pineapple bread.  I was forever touched, feeling first-hand how powerful a simple gesture of neighborly spirit can be.

Over the years I've learned from Carol two rules of being a good neighbor. They are an important part of a lady's code:

  • Extend a hand.  Be the first to introduce yourself, smile and learn your neighbor's name.  Show yourself friendly.  The response of some may not be as warm as that of others --- such is life.  Remember a lady's code is about defining your own principles, the way you will treat others, regardless of the code others adopt.  Your actions reflect who you are; their response reflects who they are.
  • Share what you have.  Whether it be material (we've received jam made from Carol's strawberry patch and cuttings from her lily of the valley) or know-how and experience (Carol has taught me how to can homemade pickles in her kitchen), share what you have with no strings attached.
A man that has friends must show himself friendly.  Proverbs 18:24

Principle:  A lady is a good neighbor, extending a hand and sharing what she has.