Getting Known in Our Community

We want to be a positive force in our community.  I know that.  Everyone in the house knows that.  Many people in Rochester know that.  But how do we let our neighbors know that?

This has been something that has been rolling around in my head for a little while.  Now that we are all moved in to our home at 32 Newberry, how do we begin to get to know the neighbors and start plugging in to our community?

I will give you a few examples of things we are doing here at the Micah 6 house that may be insightful.

  1. Track the traffic.  I literally sat in front of my house for several days tracking the traffic of people who are moving around my neighborhood.  I tracked the time, age, gender, mode of transportation and direction of every person who came by my front door.  This alone was incredibly insightful to how people are moving around my neighborhood, where they are going and how they are getting there.
  2. Do what you can outside.  I have taken to reading, writing, talking on the phone and just thinking on my front porch.  Where I would typically be on my couch or at my desk, moving these activities outdoors helps me see my neighbors and my neighbors to see me.  This creates a better awareness of your neighborhood and better raport with your neighbors.
  3. Wave. Now, this isn’t as big of a deal in the south where everyone waves at everyone.  But in the north that just isn’t normative. Waving at everyone takes you from being that guy on the porch to being that really friendly guy on the porch. Sure you get some funny looks, but if it is odd they’ll remember you.
  4. Play outside. The other day Blake and I just grabbed a football and walked outside and started tossing it around.  Everyone who drove by, everyone who was outside or looking out their windows cold see us out in the park having a good time, something that is rare around here.  Eventually (and this always happened) we were joined by some young kid who came out with his mother.  We played with the kid for a while and developed some raport with his mother.  Later that week we were able to have a great conversation with his mom at length and go grocery shopping with her.
  5. Jog. Running around your neighborhood is a great opportunity to learn the lay of the land, see how more far-flung neighbors are living and let everyone see your face.  Similar to waving, not a lot of people are exercising in my neighborhood where dogs walk free and there is broken glass on much of the sidewalk.  Again this creates a small spectical that people don’t easily forget.  (TIP: Try to get lost. It will help you learn your neighborhood better and what is the worst thing that could happen?  You have to strike up a conversation with a person to ask how to get back to your house?)

We’ve only been living here for a week, but these are some of the things we are trying to do to be seen as positive people in our community.  And so far, it seems to be working.  I had a conversation with a neighbor the other day who said, “You know everyone is talking about you right?”

“Oh, yeah?” I asked.

“Yeah, they keep asking me who the new crackers are who bought the house next door. They sure do like to wave at folks…”

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About coleyoakum

My name is Coleman Yoakum. I am formerly a student at Harding University. Today you can find me in Detroit Michigan doing what I can to expand the Kingdom of God and preparing to start an intentional community in Pontiac. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, music and politics. I am sure that all of these things will find their way to this blog from time to time. Twitter: coleyoakum Facebook: Coleman Yoakum Email: coleyoakum@gmail.com Flickr: flickr.com/photos/coleyoakum/

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