Tip of the Week – Find a way to thank a neighbor who is a good neighbor.
If there was ever any doubt whether or not fall was in the air last week, that doubt has surely been eradicated by now! It’s getting cold here in Kansas, and we’ve already experienced the 20s and 30s!
This week’s neighboring tip requires a bit of a different approach. Instead of inviting you to think about your own practices of good neighboring, we invite you to think about your neighbors and their practices of good neighboring!
In working with different groups, we have learned that many people don’t realize they are already good neighbors. They have no idea they are making a difference! In addition, who doesn’t like to get thanked? Similar to ideas from last week’s tip, thanking someone not only tells them that you appreciate what they do but also tells them that you notice what they do. We think that, in many cases, your neighbors may not even know that you see or recognize what they do on a regular basis, and this could prove disheartening for them. We can’t think of a better way to encourage them than through a simple “Thank you!”
This intentional appreciation may take on many different forms. Whether seemingly simple or complex, here are a few ideas we have brainstormed, but again, feel free to come up with your own! Remember, there is definitely more than one way to approach this; this is an experiment!
· Write and personally deliver a thank-you note.
· Write and secretly deliver a thank-you note. (This may be fun! Maybe this looks like writing an anonymous thank-you note and sticking it on your neighbor’s door or car window.)
· Give a verbal “Thank you!” (Maybe this looks more general, such as, “Mrs. Smith, thank you for being such an awesome neighbor!” or more specific, such as, “Mrs. Smith, I just want to thank you for always waving and smiling so cheerfully every time you see me. This always brings me so much joy and makes me feel very much at home.”)
· Find out one of your neighbor’s favorite foods, make this, and take it over to them.
Along with all of this, we think there is something very humbling and beautiful about diverting our focus away from ourselves. If these weekly tips only cause us to focus upon our own neighboring, so much so that we are disillusioned by our own neighboring experiments and we lose a communal perspective, than we have truly forgotten both what it means to be a neighbor and why we practice neighboring. Obviously, this is not our intention. If we can begin learning to possess a more others-focused mindset, then we will truly begin practicing good neighboring.