giving back

Building Community: Invite Your Neighbors In

giving backbettering communities

I used to live under the burden of perfectionism. If I wanted to host a gathering, the lawn needed to be mowed, the house spotless, and the scent of baked goods needed to be reaching out from the oven. My perfectionist attitude kept me from many things, but the one I regret the most is that my perfectionism kept me from knowing my neighbors.

I remained a smile-and-wave kind of girl because I wondered what people would think of the messy me, the one who leaves a pile of shoes at the front door and a heap of laundry in the closet. But then my daughter decided to host a Fun in the Sun Party.

Her idea was to invite a crew of neighborhood kids over for summertime water fun. Sounds good, right? I thought so, too. Well, it sounded good until the parents of all the neighborhood kids showed up. What? I thought the kids would hang out in the yard. Where did these parents come from?

I found myself staring at five smiling faces I didn't know who wanted to use my bathroom (It was dirty!) and craved a glass of water (The glass was spotted!) and hoped for a peek at our back deck (This required walking through the house!).

I took a gulp, and while kids raced down Slip and Slides, waded through kiddie pools, and tossed water balloons, I made peace with my mess, and I started conversations, which later bloomed into friendships.

I let go and became real. And you know what? I think the other moms appreciated my mess.

Why not consider forgetting about your mess and inviting neighbors over? Set up cheap, water fun for the kids, or try one of these 16 water games

When is the last time you invited your neighbors in?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Can one beyond blessed family move from addicted to themselves to devoted to others? The author of this post shares honestly at Amy L. Sullivan about her family’s attempt to become less me, me, me focused and more others centered. Amy writes for print and online publications and is also writing a nonfiction book about serving others.

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