Monday, July 02, 2007

The Neighborhood Ambassador

So we planted too much lettuce. Way too much lettuce. My hubby ended up taking out about half of it, and then what do you do with a sink full of lettuce (and a few earwigs)? Have a Great Lettuce Giveaway, of course! Miss A. volunteered to take lettuce to everyone in the neighborhood, so I washed and bagged and she headed out on runs to the various neighbors' houses. All in all, she delivered about six or seven lettuce bundles (hey, at least it wasn't zucchini, all right?).

That's one thing I really value about her, she knows how to reach out to other people. In that way, she's a lot like her dad. I've noticed that he always remembers people's names, and makes a habit of using their name in conversation, even if it is just the person at the hotel reservations desk in Dallas, Texas, I'll hear him say "Okay, thanks for helping me David". It's one of the things I really like about him and wish I could do better (well, I wish peoples' names would just stick in my head for starters. I once, famously, forgot my own manager's name at work and we had worked together for over six years at that point). But when it comes to maintaining neighborhood relationships, no one tops Miss A. We had a Solstice campfire (not big enough to really call it a bonfire), and she walked around inviting the neighbors. And I'm not just talking about kids, she'll walk over to houses with only adults and invite them over. She knows all the adults by name, and is more than happy to talk with them. As a result, we had neighbors come to our Solstice gathering that I hadn't seen in awhile and had the opportunity to catch up with what they're doing now.

I think when discussions turn to sustainability that building and maintaining community is often not given the attention that it deserves. Sure, it's all the rage to think about forming an intentional community. And some of them do get formed and some of them are succesful in the long-term, which is terrific. But beyond that, for those of us who are not going to uproot and move to a created community, nurturing the relationships with the people who live close to us is important, and something we don't often take the time for. Sometimes it takes a kid to remind us of the importance of reaching out to others. Of not being embarassed to go knocking on doors. Even to hand out bunches of lettuce.


Wendy said...

My kids do this. They LOVE moocette (the mispronounced name my daughter had dubbed our across the street neighbors) and will often ask to just go and say "hi." The littlest will often pick flowers just so she can have an excuse to run across the street to see them.

I think it's great, and I love that children are so quick to be amazing in situations that often make us adults a little less comfortable.

Brenda said...

I love that my kids do this too. In addition to our near neighbors with kids, we (or should I say they) have befriended an elderly woman down the block, and our lives are all richer for it.