Way back in the day, barn raising was a neighborhood event. Neighbors pitched in with labor and, in some cases, materials to construct a barn for a neighbor in need. Of course, this was was good for the farmer whose barn was being constructed. But the event was also good for the neighbors who lent a hand because they knew the community would come together when they needed assistance in the future.
Moreover, everybody realized that the neighborhood and the local economy would prosper with one more farm in better shape. They also realized that working together in such a way provided an excellent way for strengthening the social fabric of the community. A highlight of the barn raising was the party that took place upon completion. New friendships were forged, old ones were strengthened, and a good time was had by all.
Although barn raising is largely a thing of the past, the NT founding team believed that the benefits of being neighborly were self-evident. But perhaps they’re not. Sure, for those of us who have lived in vibrant, socially active neighborhoods, they are. But not everyone has been so blessed.
We decided to take a step back and recount the many benefits of being neighborly even if you are a short-timer in your current neighborhood. Although listed in groups, they are in no particular order. Some of them, you’ll note, are offbeat. This is a reflection of one of our beliefs: we shouldn’t take our work too seriously.
Safety & Security
- Knowing your neighborhood makes you more aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
- Neighbors who know each other are more likely to take action to protect the life and property of another. if and when needed.
- Neighborhood initiatives such as Neighborhood Watch can discourage criminal activity.
- Neighbors who openly communicate with one another can discourage drive-by crimes.
- If there happens to be a law enforcement investigation in the neighborhood, neighbors who are closely connected can share more information that may prove helpful.
- If any suspicious characters live in the neighborhood, it’s better to know who they are and where they live. Ignorance is not always bliss, especially when children are involved.
- Knowing the neighborhood crime history can be useful, including any incidences of package or mail theft.
- If you know your neighbors and their dogs, a barking dog that normally doesn’t bark may warrant further investigation.
- If you know the neighbors and their children, you can help the parents hold the children accountable.
- Getting to know your neighbors and neighborhood can be fun and fulfilling.
- People who have meaningful relationships with their neighbors can feel more contentment.
- Opportunities may arise to pool talent and resources for greater accomplishments.
- You and your children have a deeper pool of prospects for discovering friendships which may develop into lifelong relationships.
- Introducing yourself and your family to your neighbors is not time-consuming.
- Hosting or helping to host a neighborhood get-together can be fun and easy to plan.
- Giving your neighbors a wanting about the upcoming outdoor graduation party or other potentially noisy events may help prevent ill-will when the DJ gets carried away with the volume.
- If your child takes up playing the tuba, a friend next door may be more tolerant during the early going.
- If you’re single, the girl or boy next door may turn out to be a keeper.
- If you plan on raising chickens, pigs, or other animals (local laws permitting), giving your neighbors a heads up could make them more tolerant of the situation, although don’t bank on it if a rooster is in the mix and they are not early risers.
- If you’re a husband who occasionally gets in trouble with your wife, your neighbor’s couch is probably a more comfortable place to spend the night in comparison to the dog house.
- When you get stuck working on a “some assembly required” project, who better to ask for help than the neighbor you bailed out when he or she was in a similar situation?
- Talking with your neighbors may help you know and understand local issues that can impact the quality of life in your neighborhood.
- If an issue needs a show of support at a town hall or town council meeting, who better to invite to go along than like-minded neighbors?
- You may discover you live next door to the current or future police chief, mayor, school superintendent, superintendent of sanitation, or who knows who else.
- Comparing utility rates with your neighbors can help you become better informed on such matters.
- The belief system of most major religions includes a doctrine requiring adherents to love their neighbors in a meaningful way.
- If you know your neighbor’s needs, lifting them up in prayer is basically an act of kindness and can take just a few moments.
- Being kind to your neighbors is a way of walking the talk without being preachy and may prove more effective. To paraphrase a popular quote, preach often, but only use words when necessary.
- The old saying, “charity begins a home,” may extend to the fertile missionary field that may exist right outside your door.
Have we missed any? Let us know here.