What if Being Neighborly is The Cheapest, Most Effective Security System?
We’ve become a condensed society. We stay in our homes which are sandwiched together on the tiny parcels of land so close we could lean out our windows and high five each other yet nobody really knows each other.
Just think back a decade or two or to when you were young and growing up. The houses were probably farther apart and it was a long time ago. Who were your neighbors then? You probably remember more of your neighbors from back in the day than you even know living near you today.
Our country isn’t only going through an economic crisis it’s going through a socialization crisis. People have buckled themselves behind closed doors and chosen to watch reality television instead of living their own reality.
In my own neighborhood for months now a hand full of us have, with great purpose, waved at cars that passed by. My neighborhood is gated and there are dozens of face to face opportunities with neighbors while waiting for the gate to open. It is entirely possible to wave while waiting for the gate to open without a shred of acknowledgement from the other neighbor.
While everyone was busy installing security systems in their home and gates at their community entrances they forgot one simple fact. That if everyone in the neighborhood knew who their neighbors were, they’d know who didn’t belong and wouldn’t need security systems.
People have become some introverted I now wonder if anyone would dial 911 if smoke was rolling out of a window at my own house. At the very least, I hope someone has enough heart and compassion to try to save the dog.
The inventory of excuses for not knowing who lives amongst us include, we’re too busy, we’re seasonal residents, I’m never home. They’re all weak excuses. It doesn’t cost a thing to know your neighbors and it doesn’t take a lot of time, either.
Maybe our culture just needs socialization lessons because we’ve gotten so far off track. If you’ve been stumped on how to act neighborly here’s a skill set list to get or keep you and your neighbors on friendly terms.
· Keep the fingers together and use a single hand motion when you need to say hi, but you don't have time to chat. This is a nice way to let them know you acknowledge them but pressed for time and you can’t talk further. You should then make an effort to talk later at a further date. That would be talk to them, not about them.
· Wiggle your fingers up and down, with the palm out when waving at neighborhood children or older folks. This is a friendly, non-confrontational way to acknowledge your neighbors. Especially the grumpy ones.
· Consider smiling at your neighbor. Smiling, while it may be personally painful to some, is nearly free so why not try it.
· Use all your fingers, no matter how you feel about some of your neighbors. Someone has to be the bigger person so it may as well be you.
It’s OK that we don’t know all of our neighbors but a shame that we don’t know most of them. Then again, maybe you know your neighbors and they’re friendly and maybe my neighbors just don’t like sarcasm.
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