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By Michael Angier

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Do You Know Your Neighbors?

The other evening we had a knock at the door. It was a new neighbor who introduced himself and his boys to us. He also invited us to a block party as a way to acquaint himself with the people in the neighborhood as well as celebrate the first anniversary of his two foster sons coming to live with him.

We've lived here almost six years and no one has ever come to introduce themselves. I suppose we should have taken it on to introduce OURselves to people moving in, but we haven't.

Taking the action our new neighbor did last night was most likely an uncomfortable thing for him to do. I have an idea his two sons (11 and 14) weren't too gung-ho about it either—at least at first.

It made me stop and think. I've spent the last seven-and-half years building a worldwide community of people who want to operate at their best, and it took the initiative of a young man and his foster sons to show me how I could pay better attention to my own community.

We have many local friends—good friends—but I have to admit that I haven't usually been the one to make the overture of friendship in my own neighborhood. In fact we have more friends in our marina than we do in our development.

This experience reminded me of one of my favorite quotes written by a monk in 1100: "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world."

For those of us who want to make a difference in the world, it's important we remember what Bucky Fuller said, "Think globally, but act locally."

For me, I'm going to make it a point to meet more of my neighbors—starting now.




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Last Updated 01/30/2004