There's this corny Sesame Street song that comes to my mind... "Who are the people in your neighborhood?" I've been working a little harder than usual at getting to know my neighbors this past year or so. We moved to a new house a year and a half ago, and now Abby goes to school less than a mile away. Good excuses to branch out.
Neighbors, I'm thinking, are one of life's treasures. Just this morning, I had a few other moms and kids over to our house, all from within a mile (or a block!) of my house. One from Korea, one from Virginia, one from Pennsylvania, one from Texas. The one from Russia couldn't make it. I love visiting with each of them, and also just sitting back and watching them love their kids, take pictures, share stories. Who needs a road trip on a foggy, rainy day when you can take one in your living room?!
My neighbors introduce me to people I'd never get to interact with otherwise. Just in our immediate cul-de-sac, I've gotten to know a handful of the over-80 bunch, a Korean family and their nanny, a high school math teacher and her nieces, a family with two ten-year-olds and a thirteen-year-old. As much as I love the "small group" that I am in at church (full of young families), getting to know my neighbors gives me a great opportunity to talk about and do something other than kids and sermons!
Abby's class at school is a part of our "neighborhood" too. I was there earlier this week, and I get to interact with kids from around the city. They are from different countries, different socioeconomic classes, different types of families, and have different strengths and weaknesses. They remind me of the variety in my city, and that we all live side-by-side, working together to get our kids to school, get them through K, 1, 2, 3....! Being in the classroom helps me put a face and a value on the many families in my city.
My neighbors remind me everyday that the world is a much bigger place than our little family, our little church, our set of friends. I've got a slice of the world right at my doorstep, a glimpse of the world to explore, learn about, and love. They may be different than me, but what better chance to experience the "diversity" of the world and get to know it face to face?
What kind of random neighbors do you have? Have you talked to them lately?