Good Neighbors—We Need Them
NOT long ago a woman in Toronto, Canada, went to the stores and left her weekly wash hanging on a clothesline to dry. While she was gone, the wash fell to the ground. Seeing this, her neighbor picked it out of the dirt for her, rewashed it and hung it all out to dry again.
Do you have neighbors like that? Unfortunately, they seem to be rare today. More common are news items like the one, also from Toronto, about an elderly woman whose arm was pinned to a hot stove. She cried for help, but her neighbors ignored her screams, and she was not rescued for two days. The arm had to be amputated.
Living in a community where neighbors care adds security and warmth to life. Good neighbors cook meals for us when we are sick, bring our children home when they wander away, help us through major and minor crises, purchase a few items for us while doing their own shopping, keep an eye on our house if we are away and generally make life more pleasant when they say “Good morning” each day. And, of course, we do the same for them.
In the old days such neighbors were the rule rather than the exception. Even today you can still find them in rural areas and small towns. But in the bigger cities and the affluent suburbs caring neighbors are a rare breed; and since most today live in cities or their suburbs, many people have never had the experience of living in a caring neighborhood. A psychologist said: “Why, living in a Toronto apartment, I could die and lie there for months before anybody would notice. It didn’t use to be that way.” The same is true of most big cities. On the other side of the globe a young bachelor died in an apartment in a big city. His body was not found for one and a half years!
The psychologist said that it was not always like that. What caused the change?