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Good neighbors make good communities

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POSTED: September 24, 2012 12:00 p.m.

National Good Neighbor Day is Sept. 28. This week, we at Keep Liberty Beautiful will kick off one of our major themes for this year in conjunction with this little-known holiday: “Good Neighbors: Keep it Clean Keep it Green.”

According to holidayinsights.com, this day was created by Becky Mattson during the early 1970s in Lakeside, Mont., to recognize and appreciate good neighbors. She succeeded in getting Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, along with numerous governors across America, to issue proclamations annually. In 2003, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution officially making September 28, National Good Neighbor Day.

We agree with Mrs. Mattson’s idea: Good neighbors should be recognized and appreciated. So, let’s explore what a good neighbor is and what good neighbors mean to quality of life.

Have you ever thought about what qualities make a neighbor a good neighbor? I have spent quite bit of time lately considering this. My first thoughts took me back to the 10th grade, when we studied the Robert Frost poem “Mending Wall,” which contained the old adage “good fences make good neighbors.” You know, 10th-graders do not have a lot of life experience, and I really did not understand why having a boundary would make for a good neighborly relationship. As hard as our English teacher, Mrs. Higginbotham, tried, most of our class just did not get it. As I have aged, however, I have a better grasp of Frost’s intent. An analysis of the poem on gradesaver.com states that the presence of a wall between properties ensures a quality relationship between neighbors. The wall signifies a respect of each other’s property and identity.

Sometimes, I think our society has been overrun by “what’s in it for me” types who seldom think of the needs or wishes of those around them. These types do not make “good neighbors.” Let’s hope that we all are the respectful kind of neighbors who do not infringe on the feelings and efforts of our neighbors.

Here are some suggestions for celebrating good neighbors this week:

• Take a look at your property and try to see it through the eyes of others who live around you. Is it clean and maintained? Is equipment and toys stored appropriately rather than left scattered around the yard? Are your house and other structures in a state of good repair? Is the right of way along your street litter-free? And please tell me that there are not junk cars and other debris marring the appearance of your property and, ultimately, your neighborhood because of you?

• Do any of your neighbors have health issues or are down on their luck? Perhaps they could use a hand in sprucing up their property (with their permission, of course). Do you have elderly or indigent neighbors who might appreciate a neighbor’s assistance? I hope when I get to that point, I will have neighbors that care. I am sure you would, too.

• Maybe the first step might be to offer a smile and a friendly hello to people around you. Get to know your neighbors and show respect for their property by keeping your property in good shape.

After all, a community is more than just a group of people who live in the same vicinity. Reach out and be a good neighbor. You might realize how many good neighbors you have around you.

Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events

Saturday, Oct. 27 — Liberty County’s seventh annual Rivers Alive events, 8:30 a.m-12:30 p.m. Rivers Alive is part of a statewide waterway cleanup. Volunteer to help care for more than 30 locations and protect our waters and wetlands. The first 450 registered volunteers will receive official Rivers Alive T-shirts. Liberty’s Rivers Alive is a Make-a-Difference Day event. To volunteer or for more information, call 880-4888 or email klcb@coastalnow.net.

 

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