Sunday, February 9, 2014

Neighborly Acts of Kindness: 5 Ways We Show Love to Our Neighbors

14 Days of Loving-Kindness: Day 9 - THE NEIGHBORS!! 

I love that the little town we live in now really feels like a community to me, and I realize that doing our part to create this community is essential. I think acts of kindness are a good place to start. 

Here's our 5 favorite ways to show love to our neighbors: 

1. Bake for them! 

The boys and I love to bake together and love it even more when we make extra goodies to share with our neighbors. (P.S. They like it too. It's a small way to show you care).

2. Feed their pets -- or in our case, their chickens. 

We have neighbors with chickens, so we keep veggie scraps that we know the chickens love and walk over to feed them. We also like to take doggie treats to another neighbor's dog (a dog we know is friendly) and to pet the dog through the fence, which both the dog and neighbor are glad that we do. (A bonus of our doggie visits is that this particularly, quite well-behaved dog is helping Caterpillar overcome an intense fear of dogs).

3. Share warm soup on cold or rainy days or when we know they are sick. 

We've delivered chicken noodle soup and chili to various neighbors on cold days or when we know someone in the family is sick. We've also delivered pasta dishes to neighbors at busy times so that dinner might be one less thing for the mom to worry about. Oh - and we love to share veggies from our FarmShare with neighbors from time to time too. There is a food pantry day in our tiny town and when our FarmShare has been particularly full, we will sometimes take extra fresh, organic fruits or veggies to the food pantry to share with others.  

4. Make cards for them. 

Wild Thing goes through phases when art rarely interests him, but then he will get excited about doing art. Often when he is an "art phase," and I ask him what he is making, he will tell me his art project is a card for another child in the neighborhood. In fact, we'll be delivering some cards to neighborhood friends today as part of our acts of kindness -- and we'll be feeding the chickens too!

5. Speak to them - and listen. 

It may sound too simple, but making sure we slow our lives down when we're running our errands or planning for extra time when I walk Wild Thing to Preschool can make a big difference. This means we can say hello to neighbors we see along the way and are more available to listen when they seem to need to talk. Really listening can go along way. We've listened and now know that a neighbor's family is struggling with the husband's mother being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Offering our support has meant a lot to them. Running into a woman I've seen around town at the coffee shop and saying hello has increased our sense of community, and I've seen the difference it has made for her. She's told me that she and her family rarely attend events at the community center in our tiny town because she doesn't feel welcome. I hope my kindness makes her feel more welcome and accepted in our community, a community I consider to generally be accepting, but which has (for whatever reason) left her on the outside.  

What are your favorite ways to help your neighbors or demonstrate kindness for them? 

P.S. I'd love to share photos of our kindness in action, but I've lost the cable that connects my camera to my computer! Hopefully, I'll get a replacement soon. 

You might also like:

Little Hands Can Help Too
Being Hurt + Being Kind
Compassion 2014
Lavender Spice Painting

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