Observed annually on September 28th is National Good Neighbor Day.
You ask, “Seriously, is that for real?”. Well, matter of fact it is.
National Good Neighbor Day was created in the early 1970s by Becky Mattson of Lakeside, Montana. In 1978, United States President Jimmy Carter issued Proclamation 4601:
“As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love and respect build cohesive families and communities. The same bonds cement our Nation and the nations of the world. For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family…I call upon the people of the United States and interested groups and organizations to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
That Proclamation designated September 24, 1978, as National Good Neighbor Day. In 2003, National Good Neighbor Day was changed from the fourth Sunday in September to September 28th.
I ask, “Why shouldn’t this day be every day?”.
In this day and age where we have the “wave neighbors”, the ones that will wave but don’t know your name nor care to, and the “you don’t exist neighbors” who drive past while you’re putting the garbage can at the street and won’t look at you, it’s a blessing to have a good neighbor.
But it’s an even greater thing to BE a good neighbor.
Where we choose to reside with our families is an important decision, and it’s imperative that we know who surrounds us. The best neighborhoods are those where people have taken time to get to know one another by learning each other’s names, sharing emergency contact numbers and agreeing to look out for each other. This can be as simple as checking on neighbors after a storm, flood or power outage or as complex as having a well-organized block watch.
Here are some suggestions for celebrating the day:
– Introduce yourself, offer a smile and friendly hello to your neighbor.
– Help your neighbor in some way.
– Have your neighbor over for coffee or a meal.
– Help each other identify safety lapses, did they leave their garage door open?
– Get to know your neighbor a little better, ask what they like to do.
– Respect their boundaries and privacy.
– Has a neighbor done something nice for you? Pay it forward to another neighbor.
– Share your contact list of handyman and home services.
The same principles apply for condo and apartment living: chat with folks on the elevator ride or hold open a door for a neighbor and ask how their day is going. Try to be mindful of the shared building and respectful each others space.