|image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
When I was eleven years old, a bunch of my friends and I were running around outside in our neighborhood playing hide and seek on a beautiful summer evening. Ours was a friendly block with few fences, so it was quite common to tuck into a neighbor's front yard and wait to be found - and then make a bee-line for home base! I had just settled snugly into our next-door neighbor's hydrangea bush when a shrill, desperate scream issued from inside the house. I was just a kid, but even then I remember knowing that that sound was borne of sheer terror.
Several of us ran and found our parents and sent them over to our neighbor's house immediately, where they found the woman crying and screaming deliriously, cradling the body of her husband, who had suffered a heart attack. Paramedics were summoned, and he was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was successfully treated and, eventually, released. He wasn't old, or ill - it was the kind of heart attack that strikes with no warning at all - and fortunately he survived largely unscathed.
My point in sharing this story is that, while it has a happy ending, it could just as easily have ended in tragedy and loss. It is a great example of how valuable and important it is to have and to be good neighbors, and to model that kind of behavior for our children. In a world where we spend so much time and money making sure our children are safe and secure, we should not forget to promote the value of community and how it can also be a safety net.
So be a good neighbor: keep an eye out for unusual activity in the neighborhood, drive with caution, be helpful, be kind, be pleasant. Get involved in your community; make it a place where everyone looks out for one other - it's one of the best ways to help keep your family safe! It may just save your life or the life of someone you love.