Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3. Be Aware

Huh, well how bout that? This may have been the "Be" that got a little glossed over in the presentation. I seem to have very little written down here for number three, and I think a goodly chunk got used for number one. Plus the more that I look at it, another goodly chunk really ought to get shifted over into number four.

(shiftshiftshift) Here's what's left.

Number three is mostly about being a good neighbor, but it can easily translate into being a good friend, since what the heck kind of friend are you if you are not even aware of what is going on for your friend. I am referring to who are they? What is important to them? Are they OK? Do they have any needs that are going unmet?

I am not exactly talking about being snoopy, especially at the neighborhood level.... but I am not exactly ruling it out either. I know, I know... it's none of your business what is going on across the street and down one. Not exactly anyway. Except for on a human level, it sort of is your business.

Do you breathe? Do you have a heart in working condition? Then you are a line of defense in your neighborhood against starvation, bullying, crime and abuse, and to a certain extent you really are responsible for what is going on next door inasmuch as you turn a blind eye or just cannot be bothered.

Heavy, but it's about being a real person.

So how do you be a decent human being and not turn a blind eye? Guess what, bad news.... you gotta reach out and make the acquaintance, perhaps even make friends with your neighbors before you can be of use to them, and that can be both difficult and problematic. Not everyone wants to be pals, and that's Ok... but you can pay attention to some details. Like if someone's dog gets out, you can let them know you just saw Fido trotting down the street. Like if all of a sudden the older lady who lives next door doesn't seem to be getting visits from her daughter every Tuesday anymore. Is everything OK? Is her daughter OK? Does she need help with anything that her daughter may not be helping her with anymore?

Don't have time to pay attention? Be honest, all it takes is a small bit of your awareness and a willingness to take steps if you see a problem.

That's all I'm a gonna write on this topic, even though I see now that I am giving a pretty broad topic just a little bit of attention. Just think about this for a minute on your own. Who is in your neighborhood? What is your relationship to them? If they got cancer, would you be a person they could rely on for a bit of basic assistance? If not, why not? Is there something that you could realistically change to be of use to another in case of need?

Do you believe that you have a responsibility here? If not, tell me why... maybe I have it wrong.

I just suspect that you kind of agree with me.

1 comment:

Mama D said...

I both succeed an fail here. Last summer a lady from our neighborhood lost her husband to pneumonia. I knew that they went out for meals together often and deduced that perhaps she doesn't enjoy cooking and guessed she wouldn't feel much like going out to eat at that difficult time. I took her over a few meals that she could freeze or eat sooner, whichever she preferred. That felt great.

Conversely, I don't particularly enjoy my next door neighbors. We have had a strained relationship what with their partying and keeping us awake etc. (I wrote about this.) They have been very well behaved lately but I still find myself feeling negatively towards them. I need to get over this and be the good neighbor I know I can be.