Love your neighbor

differencesWatching my 2 youngest daughters struggle to share their bedroom is like watching a sociology experiment under my own roof. I’ve tried every angle to encourage their peaceful co-existence, but it usually ends with me suggesting in a LOUD voice “Just figure it out!” They are 10 and 13 year old little ladies , mind you. The hormone levels fluctuate like the daily temperatures of a Michigan springtime.

They get along famously when they choose to do so. But their quarreling is usually the loudest when my nerves are already shot. Listening to the two of them makes my head spin and could drive me to drink by 9 AM. The hardest part of all of it is giving these crazy girls logical solutions and watching them continue to spin out of control. It’s a bit like watching our nation right now. Can’t we all just get along?! I am sharing just a few suggestions that I’ve brought to the girls attention in the past. Perhaps it will help others since it has seemingly done nothing in our house. Loving your neighbor is a grand idea and it makes a ton of sense in regards to forming respectable boundaries, accepting each others’  differences and living with others who have completely different belief systems as our own.

                                *BE KIND  *SHARE  *RESPECT  *BE PATIENT  *BE FLEXIBLE

BEING KIND is important above all else. Whatever we are trying to achieve, chances are, if we approach the situation with a caring, encouraging attitude – it will help. At the very least, we can go into the different issues of our lives without a 300 pound chip on our shoulder.

As badly as my girls want their OWN space, it’s just not going to happen. So… Let’s think about how we can SHARE the space, down the middle with compassion and logic. Everyone gets the standard “2 drawers of the dresser”and move on. No more hogging the closet, America – clean it up and organize and keep only what you need.

It’s silly that this needs to be said, but each of us are very different. You will never find anyone out there that follows the exact same thought process that you do. Living with each other is not easy. And by living, I mean sharing a neighborhood, grocery store, work space, etc… Show some RESPECT. Acknowledging the simple fact that each of us have various opinions on a wide range of topics will help us all to live together much easier. Try to honor the fact that your neighbor may not care as much about their lawn, or that your sister is an absolute neat freak. Respecting doesn’t have to mean that you agree with the other person  – but it does mean that you will not intentionally harass, tease, belittle or antagonize them about the way that they differ from you.

PATIENCE is a virtue, from what I’ve heard. It is also a trait that most of us (if we’re being honest) could afford to practice a bit more. We are not patient with ourselves or with others. We want things done now… or yesterday. We expect immediate results. We sigh as we wait 5 minutes and 45 seconds for our dinner to heat up in the microwave. Our dieting efforts better be evident by the week end, or bring on the beer and nachos! I think amazing things would happen if we stop rushing them along so quickly. Good things take time. So do good grades, relationships, business progress and neighborhood development. Be diligent, but patient and you’ll see the results. Be positive in your thinking and encouraging with your support and others will follow your lead.

Or maybe they wont, and that’s where FLEXIBILITY becomes important. We all feel that it’s crucial for OTHERS to be flexible- but not such a stellar idea if WE are the ones that need to bend a bit. Give and take. If you’re married, you’re probably familiar with this concept. Help and you’ll receive help. Life provides us daily opportunities to adapt and if we fight it , we end up becoming crabby pants that people choose to avoid. Flexibility isn’t easy, but it’s beneficial.

These ideas may seem elementary and too simple to actually be taken seriously. Sometimes, we think too much. Maybe we need to take away the big words and complicated scenarios. Share. Be kind. Let’s all try it and see if our friends, families and co workers appreciate our efforts.