What does it mean to be a good neighbor in these uncertain times?

Jann FreedLeading, Living, Sage-ing Leave a Comment

We are living and working in unprecedented times.  Organizations and the leaders in them are having to react quickly and communicate clearly in order to protect people while still sustaining the organization.  This is the time for communities to come together and support one another.  

I have written fairly extensively about the value of community and how leaders need to build community.  The time to build it is before it is actually needed. We are living and working in unprecedented times when leaders are having to make decisions and lead others through the chaos.

Interestingly, we are being advised to keep our distance–to practice social distancing–and this seems contrary to building community and being a good neighbor.  Since embracing one’s mortality is an important part of ego development and becoming a sage, one newsletter to which I subscribe is The Conversation Project, co-founded and directed now by Ellen Goodman, one of my favorite writers. She was a syndicated journalist who earned a Pulitzer Prize in the 80s.  (I will blog more about The Conversation Project in the future.)

Since I could not say it better, below is a segment from Goodman’s latest blog post.

From The Conversation Project:

“How remarkable and hard it is to hear Americans being urged into “social distancing.” As if we had not been too distant already, as if we were all not subject to the centrifuge of modern American life that has us, in Robert Putnam’s words, “bowling alone.”

If there is anything, however, that we are learning from this anxious moment, it’s that we are all connected and dependent on each other and on our leaders. Yes, we need to stand apart physically but reach out emotionally. We are in THIS together.

Our health, even our life, hinges now on an entire community feeling and acting responsibly. It hinges on the recognition that we are dependent on and responsible for everyone: ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our coworkers, our health workers, our government, and the strangers who are worrying deeply about paychecks and daycare and safety. We have to step up to the moment and see ourselves as one community, one country.

At The Conversation Project, our motto has been that “it’s always too soon until it’s too late” to talk about what matters to us. How much truer that is now. This crisis came upon us with warp speed, and we need to react just as quickly and constantly. Who would you turn to in a crisis? What is your plan? Who needs you?

Even in a time of social distancing, talking to each other and caring for each other is still the glue that keeps us together.”

I was watching CBS Sunday Morning this week, part of my Sunday routine.  This segment was so moving I wanted to share it.  This is a great example of what it means to be a good neighbor and a good person.  “Burdens are sometimes blessings in disguise.” 

Let me know if this segment moves you too.

“Lift to be lifted.”