As part of the research for the Mr. Rogers sermon series we did, I got to read a book called “The Art of Neighboring.” One of the chapters very much stepped on my foot. The chapter was about neighbors, and meeting them. It showed a grid of 9 houses: your house was in the middle, and the other houses were the ones to the right, left, and above and below your house. The book mentioned how few of us actually knew the names of our neighbors or anything about them other than they have rose bushes or drive a minivan.
I remember a time from my childhood when we knew most of our neighbors. We lived on a street where there were lots of children, so it was easy to go out and make friends. (I even stopped back by one when I was in college just to say hello and find out how they were doing.) Since I’m a preacher’s kid, we moved around a lot, but I still remember us doing a rare block party on our street, and how we knew the neighbors next to us at least. But now, I can’t say I know any of my neighbors’ names, or any stories about them.
But this book reminded me that I should make an effort. My child makes friends so easily with anyone on the playground, and she inspires me to at least try to make some new connections with the people around us. Our children really can lead us to be better versions of ourselves. I hope that we can take a page from their book and make at least one new connection with people around us.