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Stop and chat with your neighbors
By Sarah Hodges

A Dutch proverb says, “It’s better to have a good neighbor than a distant friend.” 

Every year on May 26, Dutch neighbors celebrate something called Neighbors’ Day. On this day, neighbors in two thousand Dutch districts gather for tea or coffee, have street parties, and visit each others’ houses. 

This week, when you pass a neighbor, stop and talk story. It could be for a short time, or turn into a long one. Consider all the things you have in common with your neighbors, instead of focusing on differences. 

I was inspired to hear about our esteemed student Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris talking daily with a gentleman who lives close by. Although the two of them stand on opposite ends of the political spectrum, they walk and talk every day. Elisabet finds this to be an important act of inclusive co-existence.

I share cat-care responsibilities with my two elderly neighbors. Just chatting with them over the care of a couple neighborhood cats has brought me the joy of getting to know these fascinating people of a different generation who live just a few houses away. 

During the pandemic, a number of our neighbors began playing pickle-ball together at the end of the street. They’ve had such a good time together, they’ve made it a weekly game. And across-the-street, some neighbors throw a spooky Halloween get-together each year for everyone on the block.

See your street as a community, filled with people of unique interests, skills, and needs. Challenge any old biases or grudges, and be willing to meet from a fresh slate. You might be surprised by what you discover.

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This post is also available in: English (英語)