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From A Kid's Point of View: How and why we need to be good neighbors

In between the swings and homemade sundaes, we sat on the park bench and talked about our neighborhoods.

Out of curiosity, I asked my very neighbor-friendly friend if I could interview her two daughters and find out why it’s important to be a good neighbor and the reasons you want to have good neighbors in your life.

Ella is 11, and being a military kid, has moved six times so far. She is used to being the new kid on the block and has learned how to make friends rather quickly. While she’s always sad to leave her friends and neighbors, she has come to realize the excitement that accompanies a move.

She smiles when she thinks of moving into her current house. Although it took 4 days, “which is kind of a long time,” Ella became friends with Reese. “She baked us cookies and invited us over for a bonfire. She and her family were friendly to us and made us feel welcomed in the neighborhood.”

Because she has been the new kid, Ella also understands how it feels to move into a neighborhood and not know anyone. So, she and her family are intentional to act when they see a moving truck pull up to a house on their street.

Nine-year-old Quinn has similar feelings when she recalls the many summers of moving with her family.

She was feeling rather lonely but met Rylee a few days after she moved in and they became fast friends. They play together and welcome other new friends by baking cookies, inviting them to bonfires and simply saying hi to them.

Quinn remembers living in her old neighborhood and a particular neighbor who was grumpy and would yell and leave mean notes on cars that were parked in front of her house. “She was scary and made me sad,” says Quinn.

Both girls agree there are many benefits to having and being good neighbors.

Ella sees the value of having someone close by whom you can trust and who will keep your secrets safe. She likes the thought of being able to depend on her neighbors and she loves when she and her family can be the ones the neighbors rely on when they need someone to watch their kids or bring a meal.

The practical one, Quinn, believes it’s important to have good neighbors “in case your house catches on fire so someone can call the fire department.” And then she giggles as she recalls the afternoon not long ago when her mom left the oven on and had to call a neighbor to go in and turn it off. “If you don’t have good neighbors, it can make life hard. Everyone needs someone they can rely on to help.”

We wrap up our conversations as Ella and Quinn walk back to their van, headed home, but of course, first stopping to deliver dinner to a neighbor down the street who has just gotten home from having surgery.

Sometimes people don’t have family close by so we get to be a big family together.

Posted by Michele Husfelt with

What's In A Name

We were walking into the grocery store near our apartment when I heard someone call my name. We had only lived in the neighborhood about a month, so I was surprised to think someone was calling for me. I can’t tell you how my heart warmed when I turned and saw a lady I had met at a social the week before.

She knew my name. She made me feel like I belonged.

I love to have tea parties in my home. Friends who come are always welcome to bring others. At one tea party, my next-door neighbor came walking up my back steps and trailing behind her was a young lifeguard I had recently seen at our pool. She was 23 years old and from Eastern Europe. Her name was Marita. Her English wasn’t great, and she seemed to feel out of place when she arrived. However, her face sure lit up several minutes later as I called her by name to come and pick out her tea. She turned with a huge smile on her face and exclaimed, “You remembered my name? No one ever remembers my name.”

How do you feel when someone remembers your name?

Dale Carnegie points out that, “…a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” There is incredible power in calling someone by their name. It makes them feel valued. And special. 

Try it this week. Learn at least one neighbor’s name, and then look for an opportunity to use it. Pray for an impromptu meeting at the mailbox or a chance to wave at them and call out their name. 

Oh, and by the way, ditch the excuse that you’re terrible at remembering names. It doesn’t fly when it comes to loving your neighbors. Ask God to help you. Associate their name with someone else you know by that name. Repeat their name when they first say it and when you say goodbye. Write it down as soon as you can. There are no valid excuses when it comes to remembering someone’s name. It’s worth whatever it takes to make them feel valued and important.

Jesus modeled for us the importance of calling friends by their names. Let’s follow His example.

 “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3).

Posted by Michele Husfelt with

10 Random Acts of Kindness

Below are 10 Random Acts of Kindness most of us can do. Ask God to give you the opportunity to bless someone this week!

  1. Send a note in the mail to someone who came to mind today. Thank them for something they did or just let them know you were thinking of them and wish them a happy week.
  2. Put a neighbor’s garbage/recycling can away for them. If they store it where you don’t have access, simply take it closer to the house.
  3. Give a genuine compliment to a total stranger.
  4. Take a roll of quarters to a local laundromat and bless someone doing laundry. (Or fill the slots to several machines without being noticed.)
  5. Buy a few extra umbrellas to give out when you see someone walking or at a bus stop in the rain.
  6. Compliment a well-behaved child in church. (Or doctor’s office. Or any other place where children tend to get bored.)
  7. Leave a home-baked treat (or store bought) in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
  8. Arrive at church a few minutes early and find a mom (or family) who needs help getting little ones from the car into the church.
  9. Purchase several $5 McDonald’s gift cards to give to those asking for help on the street corners.
  10. Let someone behind you go in front of you in the line. 
Posted by Michele Husfelt with