Jodie and I just heard an interesting radio show. On This American Life, Ira Glass had three stories about neighbors, including a man who went to ask Fred Rogers about how to deal with some of the problems in his neighborhood. Here's where to listen to the show: http://www.thislife.org/.
I was much struck by the second story. The narrator told of an abusive situation in the shotgun shack next door to her own, and her struggle to be a "good neighbor". She was especially concerned with the girl who lived there, who seemed to be wishing for a relationship with her neighbor, the narrator. This narrator handled the situation with NPR quality irony and self-abasement, but it did seem tragic that even this thoughtful, hopeful, liberal woman was at a loss about how to help in this situation.
In fact, the whole show was about people bumbling through and around neighborliness. It made me wonder about our own home, and how much I hide, and how much I prefer to go straight to my room sometimes without checking on the people around me. The show was a reminder of the discipline that being a neighbor must be. I wonder what I could do to fight my own inertia in this realm.