This post brought to you by The Fred Rogers Company and The Motherhood. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.
Are you lucky enough to have a wonderful neighbor? Sometimes I feel like we won the good neighbor jackpot. Our neighbors own the plot of land right next to our house, which they turned into a community garden for our entire neighborhood to enjoy. They very easily could have sold it, no doubt for a nice profit, and had a home or even condos put on the property. But they valued the green space, and they wanted people in our community to be able to grow gardens, so they created 10 raised-bed plots that community members can take possession of for the year for a very nominal fee.
I personally love being able to look out my window and see neighbors working the soil, or even just hanging out together on the stretch of land for a play date or a picnic. My kids also get plenty of use out of the area and love to run around and explore. Since there are 10 garden beds, there’s pretty much always something new and exciting to discover!
Our neighbors also own a building next to this plot of land, and they have a home in the upstairs part of the building. The downstairs has been turned into a nonprofit that serves as a creative outlet and income opportunity for individuals on the margins of society. Art is created and sold at this location, and true community is formed. You can feel the love just by walking through the doors. The same site hosts a church group on Friday evenings that draws in a lot of individuals and families in our community. Our neighbors simply give the space to the church every Friday afternoon. That’s yet another example of their generosity
One final example of how wonderfully generous our neighbors are happened just a few months ago, when our new lawnmower was stolen out of our locked shed. Our neighbor, who this year started using a lawn service for the community garden space, simply offered his old lawn mower to us free of charge. He really helped us when we were in a bind and while we weren’t surprised by his generous gift (on account of all the other ways above that he is so giving), we were still overwhelmed by it. I look forward to being able to pay his kindness forward down the road, perhaps to a neighbor I may discover in some sort of need.
I’ve decided to send my neighbors a letter this year, in addition to the standard holiday greeting card. A letter is such a rare and special thing to receive these days, and I really want them to feel special and to know that my gratitude for their generosity, and for the great example they serve as to others, is from the heart. While it will take me longer than sending an email, I think it will be time very well spent. Good neighbors deserve our thanks, and I’m happy to spend a bit of time today sending a little gratitude into the world!
Share Your Story
Remember the start of every Mister Rogers episode? It began with Fred asking us, the viewers, to be his neighbors. Now I’m asking you to do the same! Today we are celebrating the launch of an amazing online destination that celebrates neighborliness all across the country, WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org. If you have a great story about the joy of having a good neighbor, or even about being a good neighbor, yourself, hop on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and share your story along with the hashtag #BeMyNeighbor. You will shortly find your tale on the Be My Neighbor website for others to read and enjoy!
Today (11/19) at 2pm ET I hope you will join me on Twitter for a #BeMyNeighbor Twitter party! We will be celebrating the launch of the Be My Neighbor website, sharing inspiring stories about what makes a great neighbor and giving away 5 great Mister Rogers and Daniel Tiger prize packs! Each prize pack includes a Mister Rogers quote book & t-shirt and a Daniel Tiger mini plush, book & DVD. Prizes are limited to U.S. participants only. Follow the #BeMyNeighbor hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP here: http://vite.io/themotherhood. See you there!