Being a Good Neighbor
What do you think is a neighbor?
Anyone that lives within walking distance of you could be considered a neighbor. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus also implied a neighbor is anyone that happens to be near you at any given time. Today, we are going to explore what it means to be a good neighbor in the neighborhoods we live in.
Safety Fireside Chat
All the principles we discuss today are within the context of children being in the supervised presence of their parents. Children should be reminded to not talk to adults alone or visit neighbors alone.
Friendliness Role Play
Being friendly is part of being a good neighbor. You can wave and say hello. You can ask how someone is doing. Let's pretend to see our neighbor outside while we are getting out of our car to go into the house. What should we say? How should we act?
Get To Know You Activities
When your family visits the neighbor, don't be afraid to ask get to know you questions. Stand behind this line and hop over if... (hop back to start position after each statement)
Let's play another game. I am going to put some different objects on this tray. You have 30 seconds to look at what's on the tray and try to remember what was there. Then I will take everything off. Can you remember what was on the tray?
You can learn a lot about someone just by paying close attention. The next time you go to your neighbor's house with your family, look around. Do you notice an American flag hanging up? Do you see a lot of bird feeders? Do you see planters with flowers? Do you see a sports team logo somewhere? All these observations can tell you something about your neighbor and provide you with lots of fun questions to ask to get to know them better.
Keeping Up the Yard
Keeping our yard or community clean is another part of being a good neighbor. Let's think of some things you can do as a kid and that we can do as a family to keep our yard looking neat and to help keep our neighborhood clean. I am going to put balls of paper all over the room. Can you race to pick them up?
There are lots of reasons why it is important to be careful not to play too loudly or play loud music outside. Can you think of any? Maybe your neighbor has a little baby that needs to take a nap. Maybe your neighbor works at night and needs to sleep during the day. Maybe your neighbor is trying to enjoy a quiet moment in the house. Let's play a game. Close your eyes and pretend to sleep. One of us is going to wake you up by clapping loudly. See if you can guess who it was.
A Ready Helper
Let's play another game. I am going to set the table. (One place is missing a knife, another place is missing a bowl, another place is missing a cup, etc.) Does everything look fine? Look more closely. Uh-oh, what's missing? You have to pay close attention sometimes to notice needs.
If you have an elderly neighbor, or a neighbor that just had a baby, or a neighbor that seems physically challenged, or a neighbor that had a recent death in the family, there might be some ways you and your family can help or encourage them. You might help them with some yard work. You might help them get the mail when it is rainy. You might bring them a card or picture you drew. Your friendliness and efforts to get to know your neighbor might uncover needs that you and your family can help fill. As we help people, we are showing Jesus to them in very practical ways.
Holidays are great opportunities to show your neighbor you care by bringing them a card or food or gift. Decide as a family on one neighbor you would like to include on your Christmas card or gift list.
As we interact with our neighbors, getting to know them and helping them, God may give us an opportunity to tell them about His love and salvation. Draw a picture of your house and the homes around you. Draw stick figures of the people that you know live there. Say a prayer as a family for your neighbors.
Below are some safety principles I encourage you to discuss with your child.
Jesus himself practiced this important safety principle when he got separated from his parents as a boy. Read the story in Luke 2:41-52 in your favorite children's Bible. Do you see these important principles from our Never Alone safety rules?