Looking out for your neighbours
It’s easy to assume you don’t have to help someone but it doesn’t take much to be a good neighbour and assist someone in need, says
Last week a car broke down at the traffic lights a few cars ahead of me. Along with every other person stuck behind them, I drove around them and left them to it.
Maybe it’s just me (I hope not, otherwise I am a terrible person), but mankind often assumes that someone else will do something about problems. We can appreciate that bad stuff happens and sometimes people need a hand up, but we often treat it as so far removed from ourselves that it doesn’t occur to us that we could – should – be the people doing the handing up.
Families sleeping in cars in the middle of winter; children going to school without eating breakfast or having lunch in their bags; charities collecting spare change; refugees fleeing war-torn countries – we all see there’s a problem, but we either don’t know what we can do about it, or we assume someone else will help.
The fact is, we have plenty of opportunities to reach out to our communities and offer a helping hand. (It pays to note here that ‘‘community’’ doesn’t have to be limited to the people who live down the road from us; mankind is one large community too.)
There are financial methods of supporting our fellow humans (like local charities that support Kiwi children such as KidsCan and international aid agencies like World Vision), but help doesn’t always have to revolve around dollars.
Actions speak louder than words, and actions have the power to speak louder than money too. We just need to open our eyes to recognise when a need is standing right in front of us. That old man who takes the same walk every day all by himself? Perhaps he’s lonely and would appreciate a friendly chat or a cup of tea. That mum with the screaming baby who’s trying to get her groceries into the car while it’s pouring with rain? She could do with an extra pair of hands.
It’s too easy to assume that someone else will help someone who needs a hand. But that’s not what makes great communities. What makes great communities is active members who really care for each other and look out for anyone, without any expectation of anything in return. Neighbourly is an essential platform for communities to not only connect, but also become more aware of needs in their neighbourhood.
I felt bad that I didn’t stop when that driver broke down in front of me, so I’ve been challenging myself to be more aware of the people around me. Just yesterday as I was heading into the supermarket, I heard a small cry for help coming from somewhere in the covered car park.
A little old lady had tripped over one of those concrete barriers that stop your car from going too far forward. She wasn’t hurt, just a bit shocked, I ran over, checked that she hadn’t broken anything, hoisted her back onto her feet, gathered up her shopping, and gave her a hug before she went on her way. See? I’m learning.
Actions speak louder than words when it comes to helping others.