How well do you know you neighbours?


How well do you know your neighbours?

Do you chat often?

Do you help each other?

I live next door to an elderly woman who lives alone. A few weeks ago my husband helped her when her front door got stuck and she couldn't open it. Last weekend I did her annual tax return as she finds the computer to difficult these days. I often chat with her when I am watering the garden in summer and we share DVDs and books and I have even given her a cup of sugar when she had run out!! She is a lovely kind lady and we get on very well. If we meet at the local shops we stop and have a chatter, sometimes quite long.  If she goes away we collect her mail and water her garden. She does the same for us. 

I read in an article the other day that only 52% of Australians would invite a neighbour into their home and 50% would recognise their neighbour if they met their on the street. Most people don't even know the name of their neighbours. (source)

There was a time when neighbours knew each other well and the photos above were common place scenes. Women chatted over the fence about their day-to-day life, they minded each other's children, their shared things from their homes. When in need, one knew they could rely on their neighbours. 

One argument for the decline in neighbourly relations has been contributed to women going off to work — I agree that has played some part in it, however, I work and still able to chat with my neighbour on weekends and in the evenings. I think it is more of an excuse, like most things — if you want to get to know you neighbour you will find the time. 

I think we are loosing the ability to have friendly chats (and I don't mean gossiping!) and keeping an eye out for our neighbours  Have you travelled recently on the bus, no one chats to the person next to them any more — they are too busy listening to music or on their phones. Likewise, chatting with their neighbour is also a lost art. Chatting about the weather, asking after the children/grandchildren, discussing flowers in the garden are no longer something that people do as much as they use to. When I was young, we lived in a small rural district. When we went to the local town for groceries my mother always stopped to chat with the ladies she past. Not only did she know them all by name, she knew their husband's name, where they lived, children etc... it meant chatting wasn't difficult.  It also meant that shopping to much longer than perhaps it does today!

However, I think our mindset has changed considerably — many of us live in self-contained homes surrounded by fences in suburbia — something sociologists call "side-be-side isolation". When at home, we shut ourselves into our homes, watch more TV and on our computers. With less people gardening and children outdoors playing — we have less time interacting with those near us. Since the 1950's, house blocks have increased in size (nearly doubled) increasing the distances between neighbours. At one time putting a high fence between neighbours was seen as hostile, now it is mandatory. There is a growing fear of strangers and that includes our neighbours. We no longer allow our children to play in the front garden or on the street (part of our growing fear and anxiety of what could happen) resulting in our children mingling less with other children on the street.

Instead of living in a community, we live in isolation among strangers.

Once we knew our neighbours well enough to know they were safe for our children to visit, now we live in fear.

Once we could rely on our neighbours for help, now we don't know them to even ask.

Once we cared about each other and looked out for those in need —now a elderly person can die and no one in the street will even notice. Their mail overflowing, newspapers piling up — but we don't want to get involved.

It is all very sad that we have reached this point after centuries of mingling with our neighbours and creating rich communities — in only a few short decades we have completely turned the tables.

Neighbours enrich our lives and we should get to know them once again.

 . . . Give our neighbour a smile, be friendly, offer a word of encouragement, lend a helping hand, show the love of Christ and be a good and kind neighbour.



*****

Comments

  1. We moved into our home about 5 months ago. I made it a point to get to know our neighbors!
    Just yesterday our widowed neighbor needed help and we ran to her aid.
    When finished she yell from across the street, "I'm so glad you move here!". Best complement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our elderly neighbour has needed our help a number of times, one time she fell and broke her hip and called and called for help - fortunate, I was just on the way to talk the children to school and I heard her and rushed to her aid and waited until the ambulance arrived. It is so important if someone lives next door to someone elderly to help where necessary. I would want someone to help my dad - it works both way.

      Delete
  2. We live in a society where we are so connected with technology, but for some reason we don't connect with actual people anymore. I issue a challenge on my blog each month and September is going to be about getting to know your neighbors. Great article found through Raising Homemakers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This will make a great challenge, not only fun but its so important in case you need to rely on your neighbour or they need your help. Thanks for stopping by :))

      Delete
  3. We know our neighbors well, but it is definitely because I am home a lot. I babysit, I wave to runners, I visit, we share food. I am blessed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband is at home (retired) and he sees our neighbours quite a bit and helps out where necessary. He was approached by the police once when the house opposite got robbed in case he saw anything. He wasn't able to help as he was walking the dog.

      Delete
  4. I love this post! We just heard a sermon last Sunday about this very thing! My intent is from this point forward to be more hospitable to our neighbors! Thank you for this reminder! Lynn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And how the richer you and they will be :)))

      Delete
  5. I miss the good ole days when neighbors were like part of the family. Seems like we lived such a fast paced life--our neighbors are hardly ever home. We do have to make it a point to stay connected. Thanks for the reminder! Visiting you from the Homemaking Linkup. www.ruckusandrubies.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So do I. I grew up in the country where neighbours were much more than the person next door and it was a much nicer community as a result. And in times of need (i.e. bushfires) one knew they could rely on their neighbour for help. Thanks for dropping by :))

      Delete
  6. We just lost our elderly neighbors across the street. In fact, the new neighbors are moving in right now so this post is really bittersweet for me! Leo and Darlene were not just our neighbors but our good friends. Gosh I miss them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Long term neighbours often watch your children grow up and experience many of the joys and pains of life that even your extended family don't always see and become so much more then just neighbours. I do pray that your new neighbours are nice and friendly.

      Delete
  7. We know most of the residents of this road - although the people renting the house on one side of us haven't been as friendly as others. They are rather loud-mouthed people who are very different from other people in the neighbourhood... But the other neighbours in our street are very friendly and we all help each other out when we can, and stop for a chat from time to time. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's an article I read today that I thought you might find interesting on the topic of being friendly to neighbours!
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/08/11/international-housewarming-traditions_n_7785360.html?sr_source=lift_facebook&ir=Australia

      Delete
    2. Some of those ideas are great but I don't really want a rooster from my neighbour!!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Art Wednesday: Thomas Kinkade

Art Wednesday: Books and reading

New Years Resolutions

K is for kitchens

Art Wednesday: Changing seasons

L is for like