The world is getting smaller every day. There was a time when being neighbors meant there was always a cup of sugar to be lent or borrowed, or a warm casserole when the new baby arrived. But now, we live in this marvelous age of technology that puts a person who is 10,000 miles away, in our living room. A kind deed was once, simply being neighborly and harsh words were considered heavily before they were spoken. Anger had time to burn slowly down very long fuses because the faces who received our words were a part of our daily life. We saw them each time we walked to the end of the driveway to take out the trash or pick up the mail. Our interaction with another human being was once governed by proximity. But now, in this ever-shrinking world of technology, our interaction with another human being has been redefined by a device we can hold in our hand. Words once spoken in soft tones, behind smiling teeth, are now cold and lifeless, (unless accompanied by an emoticon.) Uncomfortable silence has become a common pause on blank screens and empty message boxes. There is so much room to misunderstand another person’s words in the spaces of those blank and lifeless screens that anger comes too fast and burns hot down those short internet fuses. And there are no chance meetings at the end of driveways to make them pause before they come spewing from the tips of angry fingers. What’s more, those angry words are delivered right into the living room of that neighbor living 10,000 miles away.
However, it is so important to realize the wonderful power we now hold in our hands. We have this amazing chance to sit together on strange couches or dirt floors with our neighbors 10,000 miles away and find out things like;” I had a good day today,” or “My kid has been acting out, too.”
Most social media platforms now have instant translation. We have the chance to become real friends with people whose lives, we will find, are very much like our own. We have talked before about the power of our words; about how easy it is to forget to tell someone what they did well, or good. Now, we can say these kind things to people whose native language we may have never even heard spoken. We have the chance to say, “You are beautiful,” and “I understand how you feel,” in almost any language. There is great power there to do great things and say meaningful words…to be good neighbors again.
You guys here me say often on Twitter and Facebook, that WE are the climate about to be changed. When the SDG’s kick in, 100 million more people will fall into abject poverty, by the year 2048. NOW is the time to find something only you can do, do it well and sell it as inexpensively as you can to your neighbors AROUND the world. We must become a world of WE.