Friday, April 29, 2011

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

I recently moved to a new home.  As we have worked to settle into the home we’ve worked to do something far more important, build a community in the new neighborhood.  Where we lived before we had built great relationships with most of the neighbors.  My 3.5 yr old had friends both younger and older than she was.  My husband was the go-to guy for bike repair and rescuing toys from the storm drain (the trick was a long pole and double sided masking tape).  Adults and kids knew that we were great sources of nature knowledge and science facts.  We even helped them star gaze.  Groups of us could often be found having impromptu picnics and barbeques.  It was a small loop of homes and easy to hang out.

Now in our new location we work to find ways to build that great community.  There are many homes interconnected by paths that lead to parks, woods and other play areas.  So the people we encounter may or may not live in our small loop.  Most of the homes also have decks and nice backyards so people often prefer to let their kids play there instead of out front of their homes.  This move has me really wondering how people feel about their own neighbors.  Do you know their names?  Their pets or kids?  If your child wandered outside without you would you trust that someone would know who they were and where to bring them?  If you saw a child would you know where to take them?

A poster hangs in our playroom to help us remember that there’s a world outside of our 4 walls.  It reads “How to Build Community: Turn off your TV. Leave your house. Know your neighbors, Look up when you are walking; Greet people; Sit on your stoop; Plant flowers; Use your library; Play together; Buy from local merchants; Share what you have; Help a lost dog; Take children to the park; Garden together; Support neighborhood schools; Fix it even if you didn't break it; Have pot lucks; Honor elders; Pick up litter; Read stories aloud; Dance in the street; Talk to the mail carrier; Listen to the birds; Put up a swing; Help carry something heavy; Barter for your goods; Start a tradition; Ask a question; Hire young people for odd jobs; Organize a block party; Bake extra and share; Ask for help when you need it; Open your shades; Sing together; Share your skills; Take back the night; Turn up the music; Turn down the music; Listen before you react to anger; Mediate a conflict; Seek to understand; Learn from new and uncomfortable angles; Know that no one is silent although many are not heard. Work to change this.”

What are you doing to build community?

*poster available for sale here 

-From Heidi-rose (HrCreuzi) Promotions Manager


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