Our Community With Ronnie Hale


By: Ronnie Hale


What does the word “NEIGHBORHOOD” mean to you? If you stop and think about it, I am pretty sure it would mean something different for each one of you.
Webster’s Dictionary defines a Neighborhood as a noun; a place or region around some place or thing, a vicinity, district or locality, often in reference to its character or inhabitants.

We all catch ourselves asking or telling someone where we live. “I live in so and so neighborhood”. You may get a response back like “Oh I use to live in that neighborhood”, or “I know someone who lives in there too”. Or you may also get something along the lines of “Oh, I heard that neighborhood is bad or getting bad”, or worse. You may or may not defend your decision to live there and you may even agree.
So what does every neighborhood have? NEIGHBORS!

Webster’s dictionary defines ‘neighbor’ as a person who lives near another, a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans. Even as a term of address when greeting a stranger, (“Howdy neighbor, which way is the closest Wal-Mart”), or being generous toward one who may be less fortunate, (as in being neighborly).

Now let me hit you with a statement of fact. Most people could not tell you who their “neighbors” are. Why is that? We are so busy is one excuse I hear a lot. I really don’t care to meet the new people because we would rather have our old neighbors back. What about something worse? They don’t look like us, they don’t have kids and we do (or vise versus), they act snobbish, they are just old people or younger people, or are grouchy. Any of those ring a bell? Well, if they do, then shame on you. Yep, I said shame on you! And before anyone gets on their high horse, I am including myself in this too!

I want each of you to stop for just a second and see if you could say the names of your neighbors on each side of you, including any kid names. What about across the street? What about 2 or 3 doors down on each side? Now for all of you that are bragging, which one has a spare key to your home? Which one would you go to if you had an emergency in the middle of the night that required you to run and beat on the door in your pajamas? How about the one that would feed your animals or collect your mail while you enjoy a vacation away? What about the elderly that may need assistance with the garbage can being taken down to the curb, or a yard cut, or just some company from time to time? Who is it that would feel secure enough with you to do those things? Think about that. I mean really think about it. Would you know if something was wrong just by looking or watching the house? Would your neighbor know that if a truck and trailer was to back up into your driveway, that that was out of the ordinary and to check on it or call the police just to be safe? Are you that “NOSEY NEIGHBOR”?

There is an old saying that says “It takes a village to raise a child”. Is your neighborhood that “village”? Do you know the kids, talk to and communicate with the kids? Would a neighbor be able to come to you if they saw your child acting bad or doing something that could harm them? Would you take that step if it were their child? Or would you close the blinds and mumble to yourself about how bad that child was. Would you be the one who says “I don’t want to get involved, or I want to stay out of it”?

In reality, there will always be that “grouchy neighbor, or the ones who just simply want to be left alone. But is that what YOU want? Do you really want to live in a place where no one knows each other, where no one watches out for each other? If you do, then maybe a “neighborhood” is not really a good fit for you. But wow, how sad it would be to not have someone that you or your kids could not count on in a time of need. And how much of a blessing would it be for someone to know they could count on you if the need arises.

My challenge to you is simple. Go meet your neighbors on both sides of your home and across the street. You never know the impacts you can make by simply saying hello and letting them know you are there if they need you. Welcome that new neighbor, even IF they are a renter. Get to know them. This helps you and the neighborhood as a whole. And you may even develop a new friendship that you have needed yourself.
That is MY REALITY…What’s yours?

Ronnie Hale