Decades ago, the local neighbourhood was the epicentre of one’s universe. It was a place where kids rode bikes, homemakers chatted over fences and lots of cups of tea were drunk.
Society today is so heavily focused on the individual’s needs and wants, good neighbours do seem hard to find.
What sort of neighbours do you have?//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
#1 The Repressed Policeman/Woman –
These neighbours are apt to bang on your door late at night, telling you to turn the music down, especially when your teenagers throw a one-off party, in your usually quiet home. They like everyone to stick to the ‘rules’, at all times and will publicly shame you for any minor wrongdoing. Most neighbours give them a wide berth in the supermarket and walk on eggshells around them.
Survival Tip: Exercise caution.
#2 The Gardening Expert –//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Bordering on extinction, these types are often busybodies, who good-naturedly offer you gardening advice and give out various botanic “cuttings,” suggesting you plant them in particular spots of their choice, in your back garden. They are experts in extracting information about you, but can also be obsessive about how promptly you fix loose fence palings, cut back overhanging tree branches, or how many leaves blow over into their yard.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Confront #2 types and they might become revengeful, landing you with a complaint letter from local council over perceived dog barking or pet birds squawking, because it has disturbed their daytime nap. They are notorious for mowing their lawns/operating whipper-snippers at annoying hours, mostly when others are sleeping, earning the ire of all other residents in the street.
Survival Tip: Take the good with the bad and compost the undesired plant cuttings.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
#3 The Sports Fan –
This ultra friendly, highly socialized, neighbour invites everyone known to man over to his/her place, generally on football nights, and often parties hard until 4am, at least four nights a week. Woo hoo! Not! Their house guests can easily be tracked by the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ detritus trail of empty beer bottles and fast food containers they leave in their wake.
Survival Tip: Earplugs – buy a decent set. You will need them.
#4 The Forgetful Neighbour –
These folks ‘borrow your garden/electric/tools’ and forget to ever return them. They mean well. This type is bound to cross swords with neighbour #1.
Survival Tip: Lock your shed and throw away the key.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
#5 The Loner –
Often perceived as ‘weird,’ this neighbour never acknowledges or socializes with others in the street. Easily identified by the house with windows and doors shut tight, even on sweltering days, this occupant is largely unknown. This neighbour arouses lots of suspicion from neighbour #2 .
Survival tip: Show some compassion. The Loner might think you are pretty weird too.
If you have a neighbour who is a closed book, respect their privacy, but look for ways to improve communication with them. It might be a small gift left at their doorstep, or as simple as a card, in their letterbox saying hello and wishing them a lovely day.
Kindness costs nothing.
#6 The Neighbour Everyone Wants –
This particular neighbour appears to be extremely rare in modern society, but I ask the question:
Are they hard to find or do we need to be open-minded and communicate better?
Survival Tip: Change your attitude towards #1 – #5.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Although the previous examples are almost completely tongue -in -cheek and bear no resemblance to any person, living or dead, they do illustrate how blanket judgements and misconceptions can hinder open discourse and foster prejudice, or even hatred. If open communication is lacking or non-existent, divisive opinions will continue to spread.
In a neighbourhood, we have a challenge, even an obligation that comes with living there. To get along with those from all walks of life, for the ultimate benefit of the entire community. Shall we see it as an opportunity or a pain in the backside?
Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic.
It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.
~ Alex Haleyhttp://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/alex_haley
In the wake of the Christchurch tragedy, keeping an open mind will foster better communication with our neighbour, no matter who or where they come from. We don’t necessarily have to agree or like their cultures, habits, food, or ways, we only need to understand and know them and acceptance will follow.
Our neighbours are a precious resource in maintaining community and increasing our integrated sense of belonging, and that is our best weapon against terrorist acts and radical thoughts.
If we fail as a neighbourhood group to understand them, we also fail to create any sense of “community,” for ourselves.
Something sobering to Ponder About