At Chase Oaks Church, we’ve talked a lot about the art of neighboring–basically, being a good neighbor. The kind of neighbor that everyone in the neighborhood knows is friendly, caring, and hospitable. The ones that seem to always be the instigators of neighborhood gatherings whether around special holidays or random events. The neighbor everyone knows and appreciates! And believe it not, summer is a great season to spend time with those in your neighborhood or circles of influence!
I’ll admit that when we think about summertime fun in the sun, it doesn’t bring up pleasant thoughts for a lot of people, except maybe those who have a ski boat, swimming pool, or lake house with lots of trees!
This seems especially true in years like this one when summer has shown up early! Even if you’re able to at least conjure up a bit of a good attitude about the summer heat in Texas, the thought of gathering or associating with neighbors outside causes some of us to go into 72-degree hibernation!
But wait! There may be some ideas that could change our way of thinking! Could there be some ways we can beat or even muster up the courage to bear the heat? Please read on and see if one or more of the ideas listed below could be the answer for your desire to get to know your neighbors!
1. Take neighborhood kids to a movie.
Set a movie date for your child and a neighbor friend he/she would like to know. Offer to pay and transport to the theater and give the mom or dad the time off to do errands or simply have personal time. Talk about making friends fast! Taking your neighbor’s children out for the week or day could get you nominated for “Neighbor of the Year”!
Check out your local movie theater for summer kid movies. They often show movies that children love for a lower price. If you are in the Murphy/Wylie/Sachse community, check out B&B Theatres Summer Kid Series. If you are in Richardson, Plano, Allen, or McKinney, check out Cinemark’s Summer Movie Clubhouse. These might be great events for you and your neighbors!
2. Host a party for your child’s neighborhood friends.
Whether it’s a pool party, or again, movie day/night in the coolness of your own home, giving the parents the option of coming over and hanging with you or having some time alone would be accepted (I’m sure). Hey, summer with children is a long stretch. And I would guess all parents would be looking for some free time at some point during the season.
3. Invite pool-less families to your pool.
Having never experienced what it’s like to have a swimming pool in my backyard, I can remember thinking a few times how it would be very “cool” if one of our neighbors or friends invited us over to their home to hang around the pool! Think about sharing that experience with a family that doesn’t walk out their back door from time to time to relax on a raft in or out of the sun.
4. Have a cookout or cook-in.
Here’s a truth…some people cook out even in the summer heat! We all know those people who ignore the heat and spend time grilling up some delicious meats and vegetables on the grill! If that’s you, invite a neighbor to imbibe! If you’re more of an indoor chef, cook something easy or even order out a meal to pick up or have delivered. Really, all people want are some food and some small talk, and hey, we’re friends!
5. Give away free drinks.
Pick an evening, any evening, around the time people start arriving home from work and fill a cooler or two with cold, tasty beverages. Sit under the big tree in the front yard with signage that reads something like, “Free beverages for our neighbors!” Set up several empty, welcoming lawn chairs and see what happens! They’ll stop or at least walk back by! Just try it and see if people driving by take notice and take you up on your offer. If nothing else, they’ll see you as a hospitable neighbor just for the effort you put into it!
6. Utilize the neighboring trailer.
Do you or a neighbor have a trailer hitch on your vehicle? That’s all you need to get Chase Oaks’ trailer full of neighboring tools for your yard party! And you can use it for FREE! It’s filled with tables for food, canopies for shade, coolers for drinks, and games like corn hole, ladder golf, giant Jenga, and washers! Ask your neighbors to bring specific food items and a lawn chair. And you have yourself a party! Contact if you’d like to reserve it!
7. Look for tall grass.
This is probably not as glamorous as some of the options above. But I can tell you the time our neighbor surprised us by mowing our yard while we were on vacation yielded a very welcomed slow drive of astonishment and appreciation into our garage! Many people don’t have a lawn service that mows weekly whether they’re home or not, and you may know who these neighbors are. Are they on vacation? Maybe they’re ill or just can’t take the heat as often as the grass needs mowing. Whatever the reason or motivation, just do it! And hey, it can be fun if you do it anonymously and wait to see if it gets brought up the next time you see that neighbor.
In the end, whichever manner you choose in reaching out to your neighbors will be greatly appreciated! And the good thing about neighboring is it doesn’t take much for our neighbors to realize we care for them and our neighborhoods. So, go for it! Use one of the ideas above or one of your own and just make it happen this summer! And as you take on this summer challenge, we’d love to see the fun you’re having! So, share your photos on our Chase Oaks External Ministries Facebook page.
Have fun neighboring this summer! “Shade or shine”!