I want it all!
I’m an American: I want the Constitution protected.
I’m an entrepreneur: I want the economy running.
I’m a human being: I want life preserved.
These days, I just can’t have it all.
…or can I?
What if there were a way? Accountants know that if you take care of the pennies, the dollars take care of themselves. I think the same principle could work on economies. What if I took care of my neighborhood economy? How would that affect the surrounding community? I have a theory about how to get the US economy working again, but I warn you: it takes sacrifice. It requires me to get off my high horse and out of the protest lines and into my neighbors’ lives.
If every neighborhood in a community ends up healthy, won’t the community end up healthy? If every community surrounding a city invests its efforts in that city, won’t it end up healthy? If we work from the bottom up, we solve the problem without compromising the economy, our Constitution, or public health. We do the work ourselves so no one has a need to force anything on us.
How this works…
- I need to get to know my neighbors first. That means those people at the very back of the neighborhood who drive by me and wave but whose names I don’t know. How?
- Send a note through the mail introducing myself and inviting them to email, call, text, or connect on a social medium. Did you know a quick Google search will tell you who lives where? Endless apps can tell you who lives at which address easily. Yes, it’s a bit creepy, but it’s already out there.
- Bake a treat and “ding, dong, ditch” them with a note–properly sanitized, of course. In the note, introduce yourself and … see #1.
- Create a neighborhood group or page on social media and invite them all in. On ours, we introduce our pets and post helpful links to services. When needs arise, a general statement that a need exists should suffice to solicit private messages from those who have excess and are willing to share it without pressuring anyone to give.
- Check on the elderly or infirm regularly. I can’t imagine a worse feeling than knowing a neighbor fell and needed help, but I never knew. Observant neighbors can save lives, and we don’t have to be nosy or disrespectful to be aware if something isn’t quite right next door.
- Only after I know them and have connected, I need to find out who has lost a job or had hours seriously cut because of the crisis.
- I must be trustworthy with this information. Their story is not my story to tell, so any interactions about a family in need must be held in confidence.
- Find out–if they are willing–how prepared they are with savings to last through the crisis.
- Triage the needs. Who has the best potential to recover with the amount of help available in the community. With limited resources, in other words, where will those resources meet the most significant need?
- Build a resource network from the neighborhood.
- Not all resources are financial. Families need more than just money in a crisis.
- Find the skill sets in the area. Do you have attorneys, financial planners, medical personnel?
- Use technology to connect through Zoom to help meet educational needs. Teachers and home school parents can help with the freshly minted home bound educational paradigm.
- Create a food supply. Some hard work and good planning can produce enough vegetables to support several families. A neighborhood garden can create a bonding project, even if people don’t work there at the same time. If each person brings his or her own gloves and works at different times to weed and cultivate, no one should go hungry; and maybe children can get a little science credit along the way. Find the homesteaders in the back of the neighborhood who raise chickens and love to bless people with fresh eggs–yes, we have one of those, too.
- Create a payment stream. These days no one needs to collect funds to funnel to another person. I can remove the danger of embezzled funds by simply connecting the person in need with a cash transfer application and finding neighbors willing to be a part of the rebuilding to send cash directly to the person who needs it without a middle man skimming off administrative fees. Neighbors live close enough to know first-hand the character of the one in need and whether funds would go to waste on drugs or alcohol instead of rebuilding a life. They know in a way that a government cannot know, and when they invest in people who genuinely want to recover, that’s one less family relying on social programs overrun by need.
- I should do whatever I can anonymously. A proud breadwinner struggles to have someone else pay his mortgage, and those able to give should be happy they can help without embarrassing anyone. Where one person may struggle to bear the entire load of even a single payment, five neighbors could probably work together to give 20% each and give that hard working, proud homeowner some time to figure out the next month. No one needs to know who else ponied up.
- Pray for and encourage neighbors.
- I’ve never once told people I would pray for them and had them ask me not to. I use a system called Bless Every Home to make sure I remember everyone in my community and pray over them regularly.
- Let them know their success is important. When I invest in them, I invest in the health of the community.
- Check in regularly… not in a stalking, creepy way, but with a genuine heart for their well being.
When we succeed in propping up a neighbor whose business went under, that entrepreneur will start over. That’s the heart of a business person. He or she won’t sit back and do nothing. If we leave these backbones of our local economy with nothing, the entire community suffers. The more quickly we can help them back on their feet, the more quickly they’ll start a new restaurant, shop, or product line.
This person creates a job for the next person, and pretty soon, through the work of each neighborhood willing to put its politics aside and just lend a helping hand, we’ll look up from our labors and realize, the world is healing, and we were part of the solution.
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch.