Do You Know Your Neighbors

If you live in a city;
• Can name all the people living in the six houses or apartments closest to you?
• Of those who answered the first question, who can share something about each families life which
is not visible from the outside their house?
• Of those who answered the first and second questions, can share something personal about people in
those six homes?

Generally less then 25% can answer question one and of those that answered it with names, less then 20% can answer the 2nd question and the 3rd question even fewer can answer it.

Why is that true, most urban dwellers don’t know their neighbors? Most have moved many times in their life time and after awhile they become tired trying to meeting new neighbors when they move in or we move in because we know they or us will probably be gone in a a few years.

In a rural community people have lived in the same place for several generations and people hold many things in common and there is a sense of unity saying this is my place. Many times people living in that community are related to each other. When they have a need neighbors reach out to them to help them or ask for help when they have a need.

In urban neighborhoods people are isolated and do not know their neighbors therefore they have no relationship or trust between them. But all people need to have relationships with people around them who they know, trust and help.

Central to Neighborhood Transformation is knowing our neighbors and having relationships with them which leads to trust among them.

Why It is Important to Know Your Neighbors
• We are alone and isolated and cannot function wholly when we think we are an independent island.
We all need to have some close relationships.
• We have no one to fall back upon when we are in need therefore we become consumers and buy
services from professionals or get services from government or non-profit professionals.
• We need to know something about each other before we trust each other to reach out to someone for
help or to offer help.

If this important to you then the questions becomes how can I get to know my neighbors say on my street? There are many simple things that can be done such as:

• Each person can begin to walk two square blocks around their home daily. This exercise can be a
prayer walk. Note what is seen.
• Greet the people you see outside and introduce yourself as a neighbor, even share a little about
yourself and ask about those you meet.
• As you see people, ask if there is something that you can do to bless them. If they respond then
take the lead to do what they ask.
• Ask people what they like about their neighborhood, as well as one thing they would change if
could, and record.
• Have a barbeque in your drive way, asking neighbors to come and not bring anything.
• Organize a block party and have some fun activities planned (see Guide for Doing Block Party).
• If you see a home in need, organize some neighbors to reach out.

This is the first in a couple of blogs on Knowing our Neighbors and Neighborhood.

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