Good Neighbors Make all the Difference


Good Neighbors Make all the DifferenceWhen I was a kid growing up in Indiana I lucked out with a street full of kids my age. You know part of what made it so great?! We played outside all the time! The kids would split up into two groups and we would spend hours spying on each other using everyone’s yards because no one had fences, my best friend and I would bump a volleyball back and forth forever, we’d make up dances to perform at the end of our driveways, we had annual block parties in the cul-de-sac, we’d ride our bikes, walk to the neighborhood pool and actually wave and say hi when any neighbors were outside. It was amazing!

So, when I started having kids I wanted the same for them. Unfortunately, when I became a parent we lived on a very non-social street in a small town outside of Birmingham, Alabama. This was obviously not a reflection of that town; we just didn’t luck out with direct neighbors when we bought that house. Our next-door neighbor would walk into his house when we waved to him. The woman across the street, who was our same age and also with a young child, wouldn’t make eye contact no matter how long you waited for her to glance over. Could we have tried harder? Sure, we could have tried meeting more people further down our street and that was definitely a fault of ours. But it didn’t help that everyone had fences and everyone stayed inside. For 12 years we lived in a house where I felt that if anyone heard screams or saw a fire coming from our house, they’d all think someone else probably already called 911 and NO ONE would come running.

We moved to Knoxville in 2018 and my biggest desire was to find a house with at least one or two neighbors that were nice. Praise the Lord we hit the jackpot and not only do we have one or two great neighbors, but we are surrounded by caring, helpful, social neighbors who have quickly become close friends. And they all have kids who play with our kids! I even discovered that my across the street neighbor is my step-cousin I never knew! I only made this discovery because of her uncommon maiden name listed on Facebook, but that’s a whole separate blog post! In the 11 months we’ve lived here, we’ve gone on vacation, had pool parties, game nights and holiday meals with these neighbors, not to mention we have a plethora of babysitters from which to choose. My super-shy six-year old daughter has started coming out of her shell and I attribute much of that to our friendly neighbors. She’s a whole new person in this house. I now feel like if anyone heard screams or saw a fire coming from our house EVERYONE would call 911 and people would come running from literally every direction.

So listen up Knoxville (or whatever city you live in): If this is not your current situation, go outside and say hi. Walk over to the neighbor working on their landscaping. Introduce your kid to the kid playing down the street.

I’m not an extrovert, so it’s hard for me to walk up to someone I don’t know and start a conversation, but it could start a new friendship for yourself or your child. Maybe you’ll discover your spouses have something in common and you’ll create a new friendship for them. Or maybe (though highly unlikely), you’ll even meet a family member you never knew existed! (We share the same grandparents y’all)! Be a good neighbor and probably you’ll discover several other good neighbors surround you, even if you have to walk down your street a bit.

In the age of fences and indoor video games and faces buried in phones, let’s show our kids what it’s like to keep our heads up, talk over the fence (or even open it!) and be friends with our neighbors. Even one neighbor friend can create such a sense of community and it’s always nice to have that feeling close by.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here