Being a good neighbor

Monday, September 29th 2008, 11:53 am
By: News 9

Check out the Making A Difference story called, "Local organization cleans up neighborhood". You'll hear that the Founder of Mustard Seed, an organization dedicated to the revitalization of the 73114 zip code in North Oklahoma City, believes that we've forgotten how to be neighbors.

I think he's right. Right now, I live in my first home. I've always wondered who I would go to if I needed to borrow a cup of sugar. When my husband and I have been out of town, we don't have anyone to pick up our mail or check on our home. We haven't cultivated relationships with the people living around us, or even next door!

In the month of April, a tornado touched down near our home in Edmond. My husband and I were out of state on a business trip. The morning after I woke up and turned on the national news. Right when I flipped on the television I saw debris on the street, a roof ripped off of a home, and an interview with a homeowner talking about the loud noise she heard when the tornado hit! It was right near our house! But from those isolated pictures on the news, I couldn't tell if our house was safe or not. I spent the next couple hours calling friends who weren't able to drive by until after they got off work to check it out. I was desperate to find out if any windows had broken, so that we could get those secured before rain got into the house. Finally, I tracked down the telephone number of our next door neighbor. I had talked to this woman one time before. I remembered her name, and we always wave when we drive by ... but when I got on the phone and told her who I was, she still had no idea who she was talking to! After she realized who it was, she walked next door to check on our house. There was no damage. Still, I feel like I haven't been a good neighbor! And, I want to change that.

If you feel the same way here are a few tips (from that I'm going to consider acting on, to be a better neighbor:

1. Welcome new neighbors with an introductory note or a friendly chat.

2. Maintain the area around your home so that it's neat and attractive.

3. Be conscientious about noises that might disturb your neighbors, such as vacuum cleaners, music, loud talk and barking dogs.

4. End parties at a reasonable hour. While you're at it, invite your neighbors to come, too.

5. Return anything that you borrow from your neighbor, such as tools or appliances, as soon as possible. Express your gratitude when you do so.

6. Replace anything that belongs to your neighbor that you, your children, or your pets break or soil.

7. Respect your neighbor's privacy.

8. Offer to collect mail, water plants and watch the pets while your neighbors are away on a trip.

9. Learn from neighbors with cultural backgrounds different from your own.

10. Invite your neighbor over for a leisurely cup of coffee to discuss any problems you may have, or to share good news.

11. Throw a house party once a year on a weekend or holiday to socialize with your neighbors.