Like a good neighbor
The dictionary definition of a neighbor reads: 1. One that lives or is located near another. 2. A fellow human being.A couple of weekends ago, I found out the difference between a neighbor and a resident of the same street. I was walking door-to-door around my neighborhood, collecting canned goods for Lift-Up. Many of my neighbors were eager to help me; they loaded my canvas bag full of extra food from their cupboards. They also invited me past the threshold of their door and into their homes. We chatted about things like school and the weather, while they collected their donations to give to me. It may seem like a simple gesture, but their generosity and openness to my cause and me made me feel a definite sense of community.However, there were also several times when I did not feel this. Some of my “neighbors” would hardly open their door halfway to hear what I had to say. Others said that they simply “had no time” to donate food. Several people were not even aware that I live on the same street as them (and have for the past 14 years).Although these negative encounters during the food drive had tarnished my ideal views on neighborhoods, a recent story has renewed my faith in the community. The heartwarming article on the overwhelmingly generous response of our town to the Durrett and Ortiz families, victims of recent house fires, is just one of these. It’s amazing and reassuring to see such an outpouring of support like this for our neighbors.Yet our “neighborhood” is not solely in the city limits of Glenwood Springs. The other towns nearby are our neighbors too. Glenwood Springs High School and Rifle High School have been big rivals for years. Nevertheless, even rivals can and should respect one another. Before our last basketball game, students from each high school were quoted as “hating each other.”I understand that sports can get incredibly competitive and intense between the schools. Believe me, I’ve been there. But it’s an entirely different story when this healthy competitiveness moves off the basketball courts or football fields and takes the form of harsh words and negative, degrading stereotypes. It is unfair to assume that all students from both schools think like this. That is simply not true.It is my strong belief that people need to learn to live together as neighbors. There may be times that we don’t see eye-to-eye but in the end we reside in the same valley. We need to be able to get along on a local level before we can be neighbors in the global sense. After all, since we dwell on this same earth, we are all part of one giant community of people. As John Lennon said, “Imagine all the people sharing all the world. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”Cassidy Willey is a student at Glenwood Springs High School. She writes a column twice a month for the Post Independent.
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