Fred Rodgers, beloved star and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, is remembered on Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day. It’s a day when his legacy of kindness is honored by children and adults alike. It’s also a great time to practice being more kind and neighborly – something that makes all of us smile a little more. Reflect on the positive things in your life. Help a friend, family member or neighbor with a chore or surprise them with a gift.
Fred Rogers is quoted as saying:
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
With all that in mind, here are some things you can do in honor of Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor Viewing Party
To learn more about Mister Rogers Neighborhood and to help teach your kids about being kind to others, gather friends and family together for a Won’t You Be My Neighbor viewing party. In Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville examines Fred Rogers legacy focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation grew more turbulent around him, Fred Rogers didn’t waver in his beliefs about protecting childhood. It was Fred Rogers mission to teach children about important matters and how television could be used as a positive force in our society.
Get to Know Your Neighborhood
Every neighborhood is unique due to the fact that neighborhoods are defined by the people who live in them. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, the people who make up the neighborhood choose how and where to participate in neighborhood/community events. They also define the social and cultural norms within the neighborhood. Here are some questions to consider to help you understand your neighborhood a little better and embrace your inner Mr. Rogers:
- How would you define your neighborhood?
- How would you want your neighborhood to be defined?
- Do you want it to be a place where children are safe to play in the streets?
- Do you want to cultivate a community spirit of being kind and neighborly?
- When’s the last time your neighborhood conducted a community event?
- What activities can do you in your neighborhood?
- What public spaces are nearby? What kind of schools are near you? What kind of public park(s)?
- What are improvements you would make to your neighborhood?
Neighborhoods are much more than groups of peoples’ homes and houses. Take some time to think about where you live and how you’re connected to your neighborhood. There could be ways your neighborhood impacts your life that you may have never considered.
Start a Neighborhood Watch
We could all use a bit more of a neighborly spirit in the world today. When you live in a neighborhood, things only get nicer and safer when neighbors get to know each other and help each other out. That’s why Neighborhood Watch groups can be so effective. Launched in 1972, Neighborhood Watch counts on citizens to organize themselves and work with law enforcement to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities, and according to the National Crime Prevention Council, neighborhood watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country, bringing citizens together with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer.
A Neighborhood Watch needs to be active and engaged with volunteers, and it can be structured to fit the needs of the neighborhood.A formal citizen’s police group isn’t necessary to start the process of being more neighborly in your community. Just making an effort to know your neighbors a little better or going out of your way to do something nice for them is a great first step in building a safer, friendlier community. After all, the main reason the National Neighborhood Watch program was launched was to inspire participating communities to get to know their neighbors so they could identify outsiders on community streets. Check out the National Crime Prevention’s tips for starting your own neighborhood watch.
Plan a Block Party
One way to get to know your neighbors is to plan a Block Party. A Block Party can be scheduled with your neighbors for a special holiday like the 4th of July or just as its own event in the summer, spring or fall. Whether you have a small community or a large one, the simple act of gathering together can be a great way to build a sense of community. Here are three simple tips for a fun and frugal block party:
- Don’t overthink the party plan.
- Invite your neighbors to co-host.
- Ask everyone invited to bring a dish.
If you can’t designate a neighborhood back yard for the party space and need to block off the street or host the event in a public place, the Chicago Tribune suggests connecting with your local town and city government to make sure you have all the necessary permits to hold a special event on public property and to familiarize yourself with municipal policy, specifically local noise ordinances.
Read more about why “The Block Party Is The Most Important Event Of The Year”
You don’t necessarily get to choose your neighbors, and you might not always have good ones. In honor of Fred Rogers, though, try to think of something nice, no matter how small, that you could do to be a better neighbor. And if you have kids, you can watch an episode of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood spinoff Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with them to start instilling neighborliness at a young age!