Neighboring Tip of the Week - Read a book or play an instrument in your front yard in order to make yourself both visible and available to your neighbors.
Fall is in the air! Though, that being said, it still feels like summer here in Wichita; we are in the midst of a very hot week. In light of an approaching fall, we present this week’s tip, a fantastic way to both enjoy the beautiful weather and be present with your neighbors at the same time!
At the Neighboring Movement, we often talk about the importance of both visibility and availability when practicing neighboring. While these two concepts are related, and while both of them are helpful when neighboring, we think it is important to draw a distinction between them.
We define visibility as simply being in a space where your neighbors can see you, such as your front yard. Visibility allows our neighbors to see that we are home and well, and it tells them that we are willing to be seen by them, in the same space as them, and engaged in our neighborhood.
To compare, we define availability as being in a space where your neighbors can see you WHILE ALSO being willing to engage with your neighbors. (This engaging can look a lot of different ways - a conversation, a wave, etc.) Availability allows our neighbors to see that we are home and well, tells them that we are willing to be seen by them, in the same space as them, and engaged in our neighborhood, AND makes space to connect with them in a variety of ways.
According to these definitions, while participating in an activity in the front yard (such as reading a book or playing an instrument) automatically makes you more visible to your neighbors, it does not automatically make you more available to them. We encourage you to be both visible and available, to not only participate in your front-yard activity but also be willing to engage with your neighbors in the midst of doing so.