In the past, while raising four kids and caring for numerous dogs and cats, rabbits, turtles, snakes, hamsters and more, my large front and back yards would get seriously wild and unkempt. There were times when I waited way too long to have the house painted or the driveway resealed.
My kids often elevated the neighborhood noise levels and one memorable day there was a pack of teenage boys racing mini-motorcycles in our spacious backyard, which was transformed into a Motocross haven complete with dips and jumps. My dogs have been nuisances; one bit the dog next door and one repeatedly used a neighbor’s lawn for a toilet.
Over time, things changed. The kids grew and the dogs were corralled. The yards were trimmed and brought under control. While our house was never a candidate for Home and Garden, it evolved into a presentable state. However, some of my neighbors never forgave me for what they perceived as disturbing the neighborhood peace. Being at odds with people I lived near was ugly and difficult. So in amends, I am offering a few ideas on how to be a better neighbor.
- Take care of your yard and house. Keep the garden and lawns maintained and make sure the exterior paint is up to snuff. Pick up the kid’s toys. Keep the plants green and the trashcans out of sight.
- Be friendly. Introduce yourself. Stop and wave on the way to and from your front door. People are shy or busy so take the first step in getting to know who lives around you.
- Be aware of your dog, the noises it makes and its possible means of escape. We sometimes grow used to our dog’s manner of disturbing the peace but others deserve their bit of quiet airspace and secure yards.
- Keep the noise down. Be mindful of how much racket your kids are making or how far your voices carry. Keep the TV and stereo at a polite volume. If you are planning on having a party where the noise may escalate, tell your neighbors beforehand. Better yet, invite them, too.
It really pays off to be kind and considerate to your neighbors. Do your best to take care of your property. Pick up random trash in the street. Keep your children and dogs under control. And offer a friendly nod or a smile whenever you get the chance.
Endeavor to have peace and beauty in your neighborhood. Think of getting along with your neighbors as an art form, a first step towards world peace and a giant step for your own happiness.