There are definitely exceptions to the trend of being a stranger to your next door neighbor. There are neighbors that still have backyard barbeques with each other. There are church groups that meet together and offer support and share in happiness. But the tendency of today’s world, full of texting, tweeting, facebooking and many other forms of electronic communication, is that we pay more attention to Facebook status updates , than in paying attention to whether our neighbor might need help starting their car in the morning.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Facebook and social networking. I have been able to connect with people I haven’t seen in decades and meet new people with common interest via Facebook. Texting my wife or kids when I’m about to leave work so they know when to expect me is more convenient for both them and for me. Electronic communication makes keeping in touch very efficient. However, efficiency is not always the best goal.
I’m also no saint when it comes to being familiar with my neighbors. This is actually the point. My goal is to stretch my own comfort zone and hope to encourage others to do it with me so that we can strengthen our neighborhoods without eliminating the convenience and value which electronic communication provides.
If we can gain closeness with those that are geographically close; without losing the connectivity, provided by electronic communication, with those that are geographically distant; then we can find the balance between the two to discover the ideal middle ground between control and freedom.