“Neighbors, Everybody needs good neighbors …” goes the opening theme tune to the only soap opera I was allowed to watch in my youth. It took a while for my parents to agree to it. They were under the impression that soap operas were trashy and exemplified – and therefore encouraged – bad language and behavior. It is probably true of many of them, but as far as soap operas go Neighbours (an Australian production) is pretty tame. Indeed the TV executive who created it had the idea of making a show that focused on realistic stories and portrayed adults and teenagers who talk openly and solve their problems together. Not a bad example to set.
The rest of the theme tune continues …”With a little understanding, You can find the perfect blend, Neighbors, should be there for one another, That’s when good neighbors become good friends.” I reflect on the words … understanding, be there for one another, friends. Seems like pretty good things for a neighbor to be. Having recently moved into a new neighborhood, I have been thinking about neighbors. We haven’t met many yet, but this is partly due to the winter weather where we live – low temperatures, snow, and today strong winds, are not conducive to spending time outside on your driveway, yard, or deck. We hope to meet them in time.
We were fortunate with the neighbors where we used to live. Some of them did become friends – they looked out for us and cared about us. We went on camping trips, for dinners, walks, to the cinema. They shoveled our drive-way and took in our mail. We hope we can find neighbors like that here. It feels good to have people close-by who you can rely on and go to for help.
The term being a good neighbor or neighborly, can relate to more than those who live in close-proximity to us though, it can mean being friendly, helpful, congenial, or kind, to everyone. Neighbors could be described as whomever we come into contact with – our co-workers, people in the places we frequent, or we pass on the street. If you are religiously inclined, The Bible encourages us to think of neighbors this way and commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There are other places we are encouraged to do the same -the Scout and Guide mottos worldwide refer to the respect, help, and care for others, and many school mottos do likewise.
So what does being a good neighbor or loving your neighbor mean? I have seen it described as having a selfless concern for the complete well-being of the people around you. It could also be simply giving time and being a friend. As I move into my new neighborhood and meet those around me, and as I move on this earth in my everyday life, this is what I intend to do.