Jimmy Stewart

As relationships move online, neighbors become more vital

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As relationships move online, a dark vision of ‘Pottersville’ becomes real | Editorials | The Seattle Times.

House with green roofLately, it seems everywhere I look I read articles about the importance of neighborhood connections.  In the past few days I wrote two articles specifically addressing that concept: The importance of good neighbors, and Positive community activism.

Snow globeThe attached article above, written by Froma Harrop, compares today’s community with that which existed in the movie It’s a wonderful life, an annual Holiday classic.  George Bailey’s bank customers and neighbors were people with whom he had a connection, “of varying incomes, education, and ethnicity.  Each of them was an individual, not just a useful provider of a good or service.”  Ms. Harrop goes on to say that the middle ring of society – as existed in George Bailey’s life – has been weakened over the years.  Her article outlines her belief that social media and e-commerce are responsible for that societal change.

Here’s an article excerpt that further explains the phenomenon:

Marc Dunkelman writes of the fading town-based model of society in his book, “The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community.” The middle ring, he says, was “where communities of people with different skills and interests, disparate concerns and values, collaborated with their neighbors in the pursuit of the common good.”

Those middle relationships are what bind us together.

That’s what I want, and thankfully, that is what I have with the households in my neighborhood where that connection exists.  Eva and Ian across the street, Irma and Larry next door to the south, Simone and Gareth, our New Zealand next-door neighbors to the north, and Patty and Bob just around the corner, all represent my middle ring of people who collaborate for the common good.

If you live on the outside of that ring, I encourage you to make your way into the center, and bring your other neighbors with you.

(all images courtesy of Pixabay)

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