I wrote some words a while back on helping kids be good neighbors by inviting neighbors in to your home.
An invitation to dinner sounds simple. I often think when I see neighbors I'd like to get to know, "Oh, we should have them over sometime." But how can you get to know the people around you before you invite them in? One of the biggest ways we've gotten to know people in our neighborhood is by simply being outside. We play outside, we go for walks in the evening, we sit outside by the fire pit after the kids are in bed.
After a long day, it's easy to run inside and close the curtains. Our homes should be warm retreats for our families. But often, we use this place of retreat as a hideout.
What would happen if we went outside more? What would happen if we took family walks and stopped to slowly get to know the people around us? How would our kids be shaped if we took the time to talk to the elderly couple across the street, no matter how inconvenient the timing of their drawn out story was? How would our children start to see people if we walked toward our neighbors instead of running away when we saw them outside?
Let's use our homes as a place to retreat. Let's close our doors as we look for rest and comfort. But let's come out from our havens ready to notice those around us. Let's show our kids the value of waving and saying hello. Let's be the safe place we've been wanting in our neighborhood.