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.