Did you survive July 4th? Like my cohort, did your neighborhood party together like in your youth? Or did you all go your own separate ways? When I grew up, on a street much like Randy’s neighborhood, we did not even have any divorced families, let alone an adult who lived alone. Today we have 50% divorces and 27% of people who live alone. Truly, it is a different neighborhood. In some ways it just may be less simplified, more complex world. Which is why we truly need to celebrate those holidays like July 4th and thank all those heroes who helped to give us our independence – and a chance to face these challenges with a sense of freedom.
Randy cited one song; I would like to share another. Do you know the song (your kids will know it!) by the band, Family Of The Year? One of their songs, titled “Hero”, offers the line: “everyone deserves a chance to walk with everyone else.” In today’s world, maybe the modern hero is someone who makes the effort to walk with everyone else. Maybe today’s hero is the person who makes that extra effort to bring the neighborhood together. We have one of those people on our block, a guy from Notre Dame, who sets up tables, foods, and games for everyone. Don’t we all need to be a little more like him?
For this year I was on vacation, so I missed our block party. My loss. But I ran across a young man, Ben Auerbach, who gave myself, my wife, and my daughter a one hour (free) walking tour of some of the cliffs / beach in Kapalua, Maui. Now who would be so giving? A man hoping to start a career in wellness? That was his dream. And for me, that is one of the secrets for a better life. Do you want wellness for yourself? Good health for family? Instead of starting with exercise and diet, maybe we should all start with giving more and connecting more with our neighbors.
So, yes, let’s enjoy those fireworks. Let’s celebrate our forefathers who gave us this lifestyle. But let’s not be satisfied with the way that part of our lifestyle has deteriorated from our youth. Collectively, let’s make an effort to bring back that lifestyle. My suggestion for this weekend? Surprise you neighbor by asking if you could step in and use the bathroom. Like you did when you were a kid. If nothing else, you will get to know him or her a lot better! Maybe you will even be able to share similar feelings on how our world has changed. And remember, as recently posted on Pinterest: “Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens.”