Leadership Coaching

What is a good neighbour?

On Tuesday December 11, the East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee met to hear the arguments for and against a 6 story, 110 unit apartment to be built at the corner of London and Kimberly. Both residents and the developer had reached out to the community and had done some community consultations. I was impressed that both residents and the developer went door-to-door to get feedback and a petition of support. At the end of a long and passionate evening, the councillors sided with residents.

A few of the great neighbours who came to city hall to have their voices heard. Not everyone here was opposed to the project, but they do all have a better idea of what they want in a neighbourhood.
I was so proud of the more than 20 residents who came out to share their concerns with the direction of development in Valley Gardens. I was proud, not because I think this is a particularly dangerous or bad project, but because instead of complaining, they did something few people do. They banded together to talk and they took action to declare what they believed a good neighbourhood was.
This has me thinking about what it takes to be a neighbour.
– Everyone wants good neighbours.
– Most people I know would like to be a good neighbour
– But often, we are too busy to be the good neighbour that we want.
If you and I want to have good neighbours, we need to be the good neighbour first.
In my experience of living here, north east Winnipeg has a wealth of good neighbours. Friendly Manitoba is filled with people who want to help. Like the proverb says, “Better a friend close by than a brother far away.” A good neighbour is that friend close by.
I’d like to suggest that we are Resource Full people. I know, it’s Christmas and many of us are feeling the pinch of money (we’ll likely deal with that in January and February) but our resources are not just measured by cash. To be a good neighbour it is helpful to realize that I too have something to contribute.
Long ago I read the story of a family who, during the Great Depression always had a giving jar. They would start each week by setting aside some of their income and putting it in their giving jar. And this family was poor, at least by most of our standards. But the mom in the family was so wise, she would tell her children each week, “We are only poor if we have nothing to give.”
This story has sat with me for decades. I often have change in my pocket, can I invest it in a person or will it just get spent? When I have no money to share, do I have time or expertise to share? When I don’t have time or expertise, do I have kind words to share? The key realization for me is that I am Resource Full. I have in me and in my life many resources with which to bless and benefit the people around me.
Going back to being a good neighbour.
If you want to be a good neighbour, begin by knowing that you are Resource Full. Next, find just one way that the neighbourhood is better because you are here. A final bonus thing would be to invite someone to help you be a good neighbour. It’s always better to have a partner or a small team.
As the african proverb says,
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

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