What makes a good neighbor? | Lancaster County, PA

Hi Neighbor!

Lancaster County Photographer

It’s National Good Neighbor Day.

Knowing today was coming up I tried to do some reading on what makes a good neighbor. I mean, the five years my husband and I have spent living in our townhouse, we have had our share of bad neighbors, quiet neighbors, introverted neighbors, loud neighbors and downright amazing neighbors.

But is there a standard as to what made a “good neighbor”?

Most of the blog pages I came across stated that a good neighbor always:

  • keeps their yard tidy

  • takes down seasonal decorations on time

  • helps to clear sidewalks of snow or debris

  • makes sure their trash is in the proper cans and out on time

What I think what boggles my mind the most though, is although my quiet and introverted neighbors meet all the requirements for “how to be a good neighbor”, they are not the ones that come to mind when I think of good neighbors. That isn’t to say they are bad neighbors, they are just people that live nearby and take care of their house.

I remember when my husband and I first moved in to our house; we kept to ourselves. We were just excited to experience life as homeowners at the age of 24. Shortly after we bought we found out we were expecting our first child.

It is amazing what happens when curiosity gets the best of people.

1511043_10106271981934814_4595461537081248603_n.jpg

Once the baby furniture started arriving, our next door neighbor started talking with us. Not that long after she was bringing us a meal after our oldest was born, and was helping us shovel when our youngest was due any day. She was always so sweet to us and the boys. They moved away shortly after our youngest was born and we truly miss them. (Yes you, Audra, Maddie and Brittney!)

14202567_10111559147442754_2172892880629562523_n.jpg

It didn’t take much longer for us to notice that 3 doors down in the middle of winter a very pregnant momma was always walking and walking and walking…. Then one day we didn’t see her walking anymore. Once the weather got warmer and we could venture outside, I think the curiosity got the better of both of us and we finally introduced ourselves and our little boys. It had been well over a year since we had moved in, and were just getting around to actually getting to know another one of our neighbors. As the boys grew up it was awesome to see them making fast friends with each other. It was so hard to break the news to our oldest when the time came for them to move. It was his first experience of having a friend move away, and though he was sad, he did fantastic with the transition. (Meredith & Pat, we are so happy you didn’t stray far!)

DSC02585.jpg
DSC01703.jpg

Then two doors down the weirdest thing happened. Being a nosy neighbor myself, I peered out of my window watching the new family move in. I noticed I not only knew the father, but the mother are well. We went to high school together. It didn’t take us long to catch up and our kids became fast friends. I think the most fantastic thing about this particular neighbor, is that despite our differences in beliefs, we still became such close friends. Being a good neighbor isn’t about agreeing on everything. (Emily & Josh, whoever are your neighbors now are so incredibly lucky.)

_DSC0004-2.jpg
DSC_0115.jpg

Then at the end of our row… a family moved in. I vividly remember them pulling in with the moving truck and mom with a baby wrapped to her chest. I told my husband I was sure that baby was the same age as our youngest son. (For the record, I was not only right but eerily close as they are only about a week apart.) The thing is, I remember that one moment so clearly but not the moment we actually met. In my mind it’s like, one minute they are moving in and the next minute she is texting me and asking if I wanted any cookies she made. She’s helped more times that I can count for last minute babysitting, baking help, you name it. (Rachel & Menno, you both made a HUGE impact on our family.)

DSC_0127.jpg

So really then, what makes a good neighbor?

It isn’t about keeping a neat yard, or not having loud parties. It’s not even about whether they help us shovel out or not.

Being a good neighbor is about:

  • kindness

  • generosity

  • reaching out

  • caring

The neighbors I cherish are the ones that have actual conversations with me. The one’s that might over hear my exhaustion as I ask my kids to clean up for the 256987th time and text me asking if I need a cookie or a glass of wine. I would be much more inclined to not get upset at a neighbor that plays their music so loud the pictures come off my wall (true story) if they would just made an effort to get to know us.

Being a good neighbor is no different, than just being a good friend.

DSC_0214.jpg

I am so lucky that even though some of my best neighbors have moved, they are still amazing friends.

To the families that have moved in and filled their homes- I promise you all, to be that good neighbor to you. Don’t be afraid to ask if you need something. We are neighbors. I am willing to share more than just a yard or a wall.

To the neighbors I haven’t mentioned- you guys have been amazing too.

Courtney & Dillion- you guys moved in and then everyone but Zach and I moved out. I promise it wasn’t your fault. You guys were so excited to get to know all of us right from the start.

Keri & Jordan- you two are just awesome. The boys loved you both since the moment you moved in and you have been fantastic to get to know and have around.

For National Good Neighbor Day, I am posing a challenge for you.

Find a piece of paper, and write a little note to your neighbor. Thank them for something, compliment them, or even just write down words of encouragement. Don’t sign it, just leave it on their door. Let them know they are valued and important to you- because even if you don’t realize it now, you will.

Let me know what you wrote below or even share a photo. Just be sure to tag me in it so I can see it to.

I am so happy for this amazing little community that has surrounded be, and I am happy to consider you all my neighbors.

Erin BerryComment