There are few things that make my mind zoom back to my childhood quicker than hearing the song from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at the video below or ask one of your parents.)
Man that was a long time ago…and when I consider how different many of our neighborhoods are these days it seems like it was more than a lifetime ago. Not all neighborhoods are like this I know, but with the advent of garage door openers and all our technological advances of convenience it seems like we’re all holed up inside…and not outside being neighborly as much…I know I’m not. And certainly, kids aren’t outside playing as much. Neither is good.
Although today’s guest blogger, Lauren Scott (dear family friend, but no relation), is a Millennial…she gets all that…well, she just got all that. Keep reading and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I’ve lived in the same neighborhood in the suburbs of Atlanta for the past 5 years. 11 months ago I only knew 5 other people who lived within walking distance of me…mom, dad, my two sisters, and my little brother. Sad.
Last August I found myself desperate for a break in my weekly routine and a strong need for community right where I was. Google only led me to dating websites and Pinterest only showed me how to take a break if I was a mom of a toddler. So I succumbed to my own devices and delivered the very first All Family Game Night flyer to every mailbox in my neighborhood…in hopes of breaking out of my neighborly doldrums.
Every Wednesday since then my neighborhood stops what they are doing and takes an hour break to get outside, connect with each other and have fun. I could write pages and pages on what different games we’ve come up with and how successful it’s been…but this is a blog and not a book. All you need to know is that intentional breaks for fun do more good for the soul than much anything else. And when that break involves new friends and the outdoors, your soul is watered, fed, and new flowers sprout. When I was weary, wanting community, and in need of routine change…All Family Game Night filled my void.
I will tell you a bit about one night…Wednesday this week was the last day of school and the first day of SUMMER. Rightfully so, we celebrated with a water balloon war. We hunger-gamed with every man for himself. 1,000 water balloons lasted about 30 minutes. We destroyed each other in the most loving and joyful of ways!
Words always seem to fail nights like that night. Even when all the balloons were gone, the soul nourishing was not. Conversations and laughter were continued over Little Debbie snacks, pool games, and bon fires. Encouragement to all the grads we’re over-flowing until the sun left the sky. I’m pretty sure I can still hear a few kids screaming about how excited they are for their summer plans.
Unless you live within walking distance from me, you were not here that night…and I’m so sorry. Maybe this video will inspire you to start your own neighborhood All Family Game Night…and perhaps help at least one new flower to sprout!
Thanks so much Lauren…you do get it. In your own way you’ve redeemed the ground of your neighborhood and are truly impacting everyone within shouting distance of every All Family Game Night…in such an uncomplicated, yet powerful way. Thanks for writing this blog and inspiring me…and hopefully others, to figure out how we can be a bit more neighborly…and have some fun while we’re at it.
So what are you going to do? How are you going to show your kids and neighbors how to get outside for some simple, but oh-so-soul-filling fun? We’d love to hear what you’ve done or plan to do…but more importantly, I’m sure there’s someone out there who’d love to be your neighbor.
Take care…oh wait…
PS: I usually don’t add a postscript to my blogs…but I feel like I should today. You see, Lauren is a great family friend. But more importantly to Britt and me…Lauren is our girls’ friend. Yea, she’s also their drum teacher…but more than that, she’s someone they look forward to being with…someone they look up to…someone who they will confide in when they don’t want to talk to mom or dad…someone they want to be like (and we are so good with that). I can’t express enough how much peace that brings Britt and me. Honestly…besides being a husband, being a parent is the hardest job I have…and friends…neighbors…like Lauren make it a bit more doable. Thanks Lauren for being all that you are to Brown-Brown and Littlest One…we really can’t thank you enough!
OK, now…Take care,