Friday, January 29, 2010

Know Your Neighbor

I've been actively engaged in the Resolutionary Challenge for about three weeks now, part of my list of things I want to accomplish this year.  I am REALLY liking it, and notice that physically, I feel better.  Each week of the challenge (12 weeks) we are given a wild card challenge to complete, in addition to the other nine points we are trying incorporate into our daily routines.  This week, we have been asked to read some documents that summarize and outline a program called "Know Your Neighbor," which was compiled/written by Whitney Johnson, of the Dare to Dream site, whose button I keep prominently on my sidebar.  The more I read, the more I embrace the need to open my home to my neighbors... not that we've put up gates and barred our windows, but we could definitely be doing a better job at developing and maintaining relationships with those who live in closest proximity to us.  I'm excited about this challenge.

In the age of cell phones, e-mail and text messages - literally unlimited, constant communication - we seem to have lost our ability to make friends.  We have neatly fenced yards and locks on all our doors but who are we keeping out?

It is quite possible in suburban America to never see or speak to our nearest neighbors - a situation that in an earlier age would have meant that we would have no help bringing in the crops or threshing the wheat or raising our new barn.  While most of us no longer need our neighbors' help to sustain the basic necessities of life, when we don't know our neighbor we miss out on life-enriching relationships, and we contribute to the trend of "global cooling" - the world is indeed a cold place with no friends in it.
-Whitney L. Johnson

Did you know that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality?  Part of Whitney's Know Your Neighbor Implementation Guide explores The Social History of the Pineapple, which has come to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection.  I adore pineapples.  When I was in Colombia as a missionary, there were frequently pineapple vendors on corners, selling ripe, juicy pineapple by the slice.  I would sometimes eat enough pineapple slices that I was left with sores in my mouth.  I love the look of a pineapple, and often pick one up with my weekly produce, hoping to be able to keep it on the counter as long as possible, just because I love how it decorates an otherwise hum-drum looking bowl of fruit. Next trip to the store, I'm going to pick up a few extra pineapples.  Then I'm going to share them.  And hopefully my neighbors will not only like the look of a tropical fruit on their counters, but also welcome an opportunity to know their neighbors just a tiny bit better.


Smilin' sunshine said...

You go!!

Swimmingmom said...

Awesome post Jenny! Thanks for the link to the resolutionary challenge. I've been thinking about giving it a whirl unofficially! I have always loved the symbol of the pineapple and the idea of warmth and hospitality. I've always wanted a nice pineapple door knocker as a reminder that all are welcome.

ellen said...

I've been thinking about all our methods of communicating we use these days and how YEARS AGO people only knew/communicated with their neighbors. I might buy an extra pineapple to share too. Thanks for a great post!

The Mormon Monk said...


One of my favorite posts: 1) learned something. 2) motivated to do something.

rad6 said...

I SOOOOOOOO needed to read this.
Going to buy some pineapple! You are awesome.
I will let you know how it goes.

Whitney JOhnson said...

Jenny --

I loved this image of you buying and eating pineapple in Colombia! What a beautiful country.

LL said...

good for you!!!

Jo Jo said...

Love that program. Thinking we need some of that neighborly love out here. I too have gotten sores in my mouth from eating too much pineapple. NOT fun!

Becky said...

Don't know how I missed this post. I (sadly) am friendly with just one of my neighbors and I think how lucky I have been to have her. She has helped me in SO many ways. We don't talk on a regular basis, but she's one that I don't mind calling to borrow a missing ingredient, to help me find a wandering pug since I can't leave the house with Ben or many other little things that have been so helpful. There is a house across the street that is empty, waiting for a new neighbor to takes its place. I'm determined to have another friendly face in the neighborhood. Thanks for the motivation. I often think back to our neighbors on Brigham Street growing up. Mostly good. :)

Emily said...

I was wondering if you could send me the link to that quote by Whitney Johnson. I have added it to my school paper, but need the reference information! Thanks so much!