Feb. 18, 2011: Neighborliness can provide the example for a broader peace, by Siri McGuire

February 18, 2011 by

Being neighborly consists of more than donating the occasional cup of sugar.

By creating a welcoming neighborhood that embraces people of all different backgrounds, we can achieve a higher level of peace not only within our community but within ourselves.

An important step in creating a neighborhood where everybody feels welcome is establishing a friendly relationship with your neighbors. Everyday acts of geniality, such as taking care of a pet while a neighbor is gone, help pave the way to a relationship between neighbors where open and friendly communication can be created. With open communication comes trust, which is essential for creating a neighborhood where everybody feels safe and welcome.

If we focus on establishing the best relationship that we can with our neighbors, we spend less time focusing on the petty differences that otherwise might cause conflict. Then, if an issue does arise that causes concern, we can use the open communication we’ve established to resolve the problem.

But not all differences between neighbors are small.

A difference in religious or political affiliation too often creates unnecessary tension between neighbors. We should see this situation as an opportunity to improve our understanding and acceptance of those who believe differently than we do. It also provides us an opportunity to wipe away any prejudices or misunderstandings we might have had in favor of creating a trusting relationship with a neighbor.

We should not ignore a difference such as this with a neighbor, but instead recognize it, educate ourselves about it and accept the difference as we build a relationship.

If we choose to accept our neighbors for who they are and learn about beliefs other than our own, we help in creating a more peaceful neighborhood. If we all decided to approach a difference in this way, maybe as a culture we could see differences not as something to hate or be afraid of, but instead something to rejoice in and learn from.

To rise above much of the strife, ignorance and misunderstandings that plague our world today, it’s vital that we see the worth in creating a friendly and welcoming neighborhood. From small acts of kindness to accepting a person with a different belief, we can create a community where ignorance and prejudice are rare and diversity is embraced.

Perhaps the best way to go about changing the world and making it a better place is to start right in our own community and make it a model for the rest of the world to follow.

— Siri McGuire is the daughter of Bill and Anne McGuire. She is a sophomore at Concordia High School.


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