July 18, 2014: National Night Out: Your chance to share stories, by Patrick Sieben

July 18, 2014 by

Patrick Sieben

Patrick Sieben

It’s that time of year once again. The lightning bugs are flitting about, the humidity is doing its thing to curl even the straightest hair and once again our community will be celebrating National Night Out.

For the fourth year in a row, Concordians will be having cookouts, block parties and neighborhood gathering the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 5 — all for the purpose of getting to know one another.

I have written here before about the positive effects on safety and neighborhood security that can come from National Night Out, but this year I’d like to ask you to consider another benefit of community gathering: Learning our neighbors’ life stories.

Each of us has a story. Maybe it’s the family one block over who just moved here from the Alaskan “bush” and for whom Concordia is “civilization,” or the gentleman across the alley who served as a naval officer during the Korean conflict. How about the lady down the street who recently retired after 30 years as a kindergarten teacher, or the recent Concordia High School graduate who earned a scholarship to play baseball at college next year?

People have an incredibly diverse collective life stories that are both informative and anecdotal.

For the most part, people are open to sharing their stories with those around them and that sharing can create a closeness and familiarity with those who share our street.

This year, as we have our neighborhood gatherings, we might make a special point of sharing a little bit of our life story. You could have a “talk about” and share a piece of your history and learn some of your neighbor’s stories as well. Who knows? You may just be living next to someone who has something in common with you that you never knew. Or maybe that cranky old geezer across the street — the one you just discovered is retired engineer for John Deere — has the ability to actually fix that wretched lawn mower that’s just been sitting in your garage.

So meet your neighbors on National Night Out, Aug. 5. Share stories. Engage in that ancient human art of conversation. Most of all, have a good time and enjoy the company of neighbors. There are no strangers, only friends we have not yet met.

(And here’s one more reason to host a National Night Out gathering: You’ll get a nifty yard sign and balloons from the Concordia Year of Peace Committee to show people where you’re gathering.  Concordia Police officers will also stop by with goodies for the kids and answers to your questions about neighborhood safely. To “register” your gathering — and receive the sign and balloons — contact Holly Brown at 243-2113, ext., 1221, or hbrown@csjkansas.org.)

— Patrick Sieben is the Director of Bands at Cloud County Community College and a member of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.





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