Living next to next is the principle of a neighbor. Good neighborliness is the
ideal to be aimed at and pursued. People live in the same neighborhood for many
reasons. Sometimes it may be aesthetic and very often convenience. It may be the
nearness to one's office of work, school, traffic centers and so on. As the
saying goes, no man is an island; he has to live with his neighbors. To make
life tolerable and bearable one must cooperate with one's neighbor.
neighbor may be temporary as in the case of traveling by bus or train. Here the
neighbor is with one for a few minutes or few hours. Even here if there is
understanding between the neighbors the travel will be pleasant. Good
neigborliness generates good company and especially during travel it helps to
take away the boredom. There are cases when such travel has culminated in
Whether one likes it or not, one cannot do without neighbors. Even where
houses are isolated as in the case of bungalows there is inevitably the
neighbor. Normally one may think one can do without neighbors because one can
command all comforts and services, so the services or the need for a friend may
not arise. However serviceable the radio or the TV may be in providing the
recreation, they cannot supply the human elements. The sympathy, the admiration
and the appreciation which a neighbor may offer will have a great humanizing
influence. To share one's view and sometimes even one's sorrows one needs some
neighbors. Because man is gregarious he cannot live in isolation.
But all neighbors are not always keeping the cordial relationship. Stresses
and strains develop because of misunderstandings. The cause may be very trivial
or flimsy, still tension develops ending in animosity and feud. Jealousy may be
another cause for such a tension. The neighbor may be doing fine, has earned a
lot of money, his children are doing well, he gets quick promotions, these and
such others may create jealousy. Once this is generated, this leads to non
cooperation and petty quarrels. Very often children may be the cause for
Children may quarrel drawing the elders into the fray. The neighbor's son may
pick a flower or a fruit from your garden and an argument may erupt. Again he
may throw his ball at your window pane damaging it. These are not unnatural so
far as the younger one is concerned but it is for the elders to view at them
with equanimity and make up for it. This may read easy on paper but not so in
practical life. But with some broad outlook one must be able to tolerate.
Another reason for tension may be the animals. Your neighbor's dog may be a
real nuisance or his poultry which would come into your garden and eat away the
In all these cases to keep up good neighborliness some understanding between
the neighbors is important. Small differences can be easily patched up or ironed
out. Care can at times play the good samaritan and helps the neighbors in a
small or big way. Nobody is perfect and it is better not to speak disparagingly
of your neighbor.
A cheerful word or a nod or a casual enquiry will strengthen the feeling of
good neighborliness. Negatively, one must not pry into what the neighbor is or
what he does.
Tolstoy speaks in one of his stories how neighbors should behave. A child was
wearing a new shirt and the neighbor's child threw mud on it and thus spoiled
it. Women folk started the quarrel and men folk entered into the fray ending in
a few heads broken and so on. By then the children forgot all their quarrel and
were playing. Tolstoy draws a moral from the story namely neighbors must be
quick to forget small wrongs done.
Neighborliness is not only for individuals but it is important also in a
great measure between neighboring countries. History has got a lot to teach in
this respect. Unless countries learn to live as good neighbors, there cannot be
peace on earth. So children must be taught at home and in the school to
cooperate with the neighbors and be friendly with them. The basic principle is
to give and take and to develop a sense that the other man has as much right as
you have and some degree of tolerance is very necessary.