I just passed out fliers to our neighborhood for our third annual 4th of July Neighborhood BBQ. Three years ago I organized this for the first time. It felt really weird for a couple of reasons:
- We are the youngest couple on the block and for some reason older people are inherently intimidating
- We had just moved on to the block. I guess I thought that for some reason people would be asking “Who does this young upstart think he really is messing with our traditions…etc”
- Some of my neighbors appear cranky
- I didn’t really know any of our neighbors
After two years I have observed the following:
- People really look forward to and appreciate it
- It is the primary, and in some ways sole, time that all of our neighbors come to one place for one event for the entire year
- The first year I did it one of the men that had lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years came to me with a tear in his eye and said this is the first time that he’d ever seen this many neighbors together.
- I know my neighbors better, they know each other better, and our neighborhood is one step closer to resembling that of Mr. Rogers.
So, If you are around on the 4th, and feel like taking on a little project, plan an event. Just go for it. 4th of July is a great excuse but there are many others. While no one can diminsh the importance of supporting global issues such as cancer, AIDS, and slavery, it may be that our first step in reaching out begins with those that are next door.