Before going any further, what does it mean to be a good neighbor? Do you have to live right next door to someone in order to be a neighbor? Because of the diversity of the English language -- one word having two different meanings, two different words carrying the same meaning, or one word with multiple meanings -- neighbor can sometimes be synonymous with brother or sister, but not in the sense of being related.
For purposes of today's celebration, let's examine common definitions of the word neighbor. Notice the emphasis on #3 and #4.
1. a person who lives near another.
2. a person, place or thing that is adjacent to or located near another.
3. one's fellow human being.
4. a person who shows kindliness toward fellow humans.
5. (used as a term of address, esp. in greeting a stranger).
Ah-h-h! I see. If you are human, you are considered a neighbor to another human. That makes us all neighbors, that is, those of us who consider ourselves of the human race. In other words, being a neighbor means being kind one to another. Is that so hard to understand? Not really. Is that difficult to carry out? Shouldn't be.
Embrace the Past...
The source of the word, neighbor, was a compound of two words meaning "near" and "dweller, especially a farmer" making a neighbor a "near dweller." This being taken as a literal notion would mean in today's society, one might have many neighbors whom one does not know at all, a situation that would have been highly unlikely in the early days. In times past, survival was often dependent upon neighbor helping neighbor. Many people could have been called from miles and miles around without any prior knowledge of the family other than they were a family in need.
Empower the Present...
How long has it been since you borrowed a cup of sugar or delivered a plate of cookies to a neighbor or simply initiated a random act of kindness? Perhaps you have never done this. While April 27 is not designated as a national day of celebration, does that make it any less important? Not in the least. Produce a ripple effect and on this day be a good neighbor, greet and meet that person or persons face-to-face! Lend a helping hand wherever that hand is needed.
Enrich the Future...
Make this day a tradition. Mark it on your calendars. It is not impossible to be a neighbor to your fellow humans nor is it ever too late to become a good neighbor.
Where does the celebration take place? Everywhere.
What does it mean to you to be a good neighbor? Let me hear from you...