Time and availability allows us to get acquainted with those near us.  You may be discouraged, thinking I’m talking about adding things to your already busy schedule.  Sometimes that’s necessary, but usually it’s just about making intentional choices to Love God, Love Neighbour in the midst of daily life.

Think about your downtime – how can downtime connect me with neighbours?

First, be interruptible.  I used to have a retired neighbour who was often outside, and always up for a chat.  His availability meant I could ask him for a ladder, to get the mail while we were away, etc.  My availability to stop and chat meant he could ask me questions about the theology of the church he grew up attending.

You can also make other choices.  Stick around on weekends instead of going away.  Play in the front yard instead of the back.  Putter around your garden, walk the neighbourhood, and read on your porch.

Ask questions, talk about the weather, laugh about something that happened.   Ask for referrals – who did your driveway/kitchen/landscaping?  Ask about the neighbourhood – how’s X doing?  Share something – let someone park in your driveway for a party, or share newspapers.

As you do, get to know their name, and then a bit of their story.

Challenge: Look at your calendar and see how you spend your time over the last two weeks.  Reflect on how this compares with your priorities.  How can you spend more time with your neighbours, to get acquainted?

mapthumbChallenge #2: Try to complete the second part of grid: one fact you know about them.   Not sure what we mean?  Click here: https://www.redeemthecommute.com/2013/09/18/strangerstoneighbours or look under Extras.

Don’t forget our outdoor movie night is this Friday night!  Click here for details.

Ryan Sim - September 16, 2013

Monday - A New Idea - Strangers to Neighbours

Won\'t You Be My Neighbour?

Last week, I shared that a 2005 StatsCan study revealed 61 per cent of rural residents knew all of their neighbours, but only 16 per cent of those living in major urban centres did. This isn’t terribly surprising. Do you have a hard time remembering names in the first place? I certainly do, even though I know I shouldn’t. Sometimes I forget the moment someone tells me…I was too busy thinking about what to say next! But names are important. According to a Lifehacker blog post, “a person's own name is the single most important word to him/her; it is intimately tied to his/her identity as an individual. How you deal with people's names can have a profound effect on their impressions of you: Think about the times you've felt special when someone you admired addressed you by your name in a sincere tone; or think about the times when you've felt belittled when someone negligently called you by the wrong name, or worse, maliciously made fun of your name in front of you.” But something so important is also so easily forgotten. Sometimes it’s physiology, since “names are among the first things to go as our brains begin shrinking — by about half of one per cent annually — starting as early as our thirties.” People come up with all kinds of strategies for remembering names. Personally, I write the name down as soon as I can, since it helps me most to see the name in print somewhere. It works for me, but maybe not you. Question: How well do you remember names? What strategies help you?

From Series: "Won't You Be My Neighbour?"

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