Living Streets Association | 2019 April
After the youth meeting, the young people aged 8-17 split up into two groups to start door knocking on the houses of their own neighbours to inform them of the event they had planned. They held their invitations tightly in one hand while in the other, gathered the courage to knock on the first door they encountered.
When the door of this house hesitantly opens, the older boy steps up and greets their neighbour, “Hello, we are a bunch of kids from your neighbourhood and we are trying to raise awareness of block 76 by running an event. There will be many activities like craft making with natural materials, a bird walk and talk, and a whole lot of games. You and your family are welcome to join us and show your support to preserve the land as an urban open space for the residents to use.”
Even without any pre-preparation or rehearsals, he did perfectly well and was very articulate and polite in the way he spoke, engaging the neighbours in a nice conversation.
Over on the other side of the street was the other team of two teen girls and two young girls. The first woman who opened the door listened intently to the girls’ invitation, before mentioning that her children had already grown up. However, she and her husband both regard this place as their home and are very supportive of this activity.
At another house, the girls were greeted by another mother, who excitedly exclaimed that the day of the event is also the birthday of her child. The girls suggested that she could take the birthday cake to the block to celebrate her kid’s birthday. An old couple told the girls very sincerely that they thought what they were doing was great and meaningful.
Of course, there was some disappointment, as a few neighbours thought it was a pity that they already had some plans for the day. There were even neighbours who shut the semi-open door quickly after the short conversation ended.
One of the girls who was participating in this door-knocking for the first time couldn’t help but ask the older girl, “How do you dare to knock on other people’s doors? Where do you find the courage to do such a thing?”
The teen girl replied, “Honestly, in the beginning, I was always dragged along by my parents. But, I nonetheless always enjoyed it in a way that couldn’t be put into words. Even now, I am often nervous before knocking at a door, as I am uncertain of what may be waiting behind that door. But I am learning to focus on my originl intention of doing these things, and trying to not be influenced by other people’s actions or opinions.”
Being with others who shared similar experiences, the new girl said, “Wow, before I arrived at your house for the meeting, I was so nervous and my heart was beating so fast, but then when I started to get into the work we were doing, I felt a lot better.” The two girls inspired each other through this moment of heart sharing.
In the early afternoon along the streets lined with trees that had their crowns dipped in red, the children finished sending invitations and chatted excitedly as they wandered home. Everyone was experiencing a wonderful feeling that could not be verbalised. It may be that the holidays were starting, or they were spending time with their friends and peers, but they were most definitely feeling the joy of giving, a feeling that only people who dedicate themselves to it can really understand.