I'm thinking about neighbors today. Remember those tv shows with nosey neighbors: Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Three's Company, The Simpsons, and Family Matters. The list could go on forever! It's a dynamic used so often in sitcoms. Why? I think it's in our human nature to be nosey and to look at others judging their motives and actions. These "neighbor" scenarios happen not only in neighborhoods, but also at work.
I know as a teacher I experienced my share of "nosey neighbors." I was that "out of the box" teacher. I was unpredictable. I did things to heighten my students awareness of the world. I "reinvented the wheel" more than once. I was constantly changing and improving my teaching style to accommodate my clients. Was this hard work? You bet it was! It was a labor of love, but many teachers saw me as "Cuckoo." Why not pull out the same old sheets and materials from years prior? I know that's why I have been dubbed a "nutty professor" more than once. You see, the world doesn't stand still. Why should we? Did I trash everything every year and start from scratch? No, I just constantly added to or took away from my content area. I reflected on what my clients were fascinated with at the moment. I understood the pop culture of their time. Were those students the same every year? No, and as a matter of fact each year was a different variation of learners and that to me was the challenge and the beauty and artistic aspect of being an educator. There was never a dull moment.
What's my point to all this rambling? As a teacher, know your students. As a neighbor, respect each other's privacy and don't be quick to find flaws. We have plenty of Ned Flanders, Steve Urkels, and Mr. Ropers in the world. Be a Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, or Mahatmas Ghandi. My inspiration for this today: "Be careful and do not lightly condemn the actions of others. We must consider the intention of our neighbor, which is often good and pure, although the act itself seems blameworthy.--ST. IGNATIUS."
So today before you point your finger, open your mouth, or stick your nose where it doesn't belong, choose to be kind. Be loving and forgiving, slow to anger, rich in kindness like someone else who walked a few millenniums ago.