“We speak with more than our mouths. We listen with more than our ears.”
When I was a kid, watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on PBS was almost a daily ritual. Our primary channel options for most of my childhood were either ABC or PBS. Mom wanted us to turn out to be good adults, so we spent most of our TV time watching PBS. I really had no idea that there were more channel options until my neighbor had cable tv connected at his house and had 30+ channels including HBO. HBO was quite the opposite of Mr. Roger’s neighborhood and gave me a totally different kind of education.
There is incredible power in the connections that exist within our local neighborhoods. Like my experiences with Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and HBO, some can be far more positive than others. In the season we are currently in, many of us are feeling and experiencing emotions that we have never endured. Unemployment, scarcity of resources, and the inability to connect with others are just a few of the ripple effects on local communities. Even with the difficulties that seem to surround us, there are opportunities for us to listen and act differently.
In times like these, we must look out for each other. We must leverage the power of our neighborhood. Those opportunities still exist. Maybe we could do this by offering to take someone’s garbage and save them the risk of going out. Is there someone living near us who might not need to be going to the grocery store? Are we in a place where we could support local small businesses by purchasing gift cards online and protecting their revenue stream? Do we know someone that might be feeling incredibly alone, it might be they just need someone to talk with on the phone or through a video chat? All of us can find a way to lift others up.
I want to encourage everyone to listen to the needs of the neighborhood and speak with your actions. Our selflessness in this difficult time will make us stronger. Show your community you care. Be a light in the darkest of times and we will all be stronger when we reach the other side. Answer “Yes” to the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”