It’s the school holidays here in New Zealand. With Kerryn at the beck and call of a 2 week old baby who is hungry, hungry, hungry, I decided to take the week off to adventure with Jono. He’s killing me already, and we’re only 2 days in.
So yesterday we went Ice Skating. It’s part of my strategy to determine just how much Canadian blood runs through those veins. Because, you know, if he was a “full blood” he would explode out onto that ice rink the first time he put skates on – like the rest of us Canadians. As it turns out he’s not, but we had a blast anyways.
So we’re circulating around the rink and Jono keeps dropping behind. I think he’s just getting tired and carry on. Daddy decides that he’s getting tired so I take a break and sit in the penalty box.
From my new vantage point I’m able to observe the full story. As Jono circulates around the rink in his wobbly, erratic fashion he stops periodically. Once at an open door to the team benches where he waves to a woman who is sitting watching her kids skate. Again at another door to wave to people sitting in the bleachers. Then he stops next to another boy with a skating frame, again he waves cheerfully.
I jump back on the ice and rejoin my little Gretzky (or is it Crosby these days). As we skate around he keeps stopping to wave and I see the unexpected joy that he brings to people’s faces. We come to the seated woman and she waves back, huge smile on her face and calls out to me “He’s done that every time he comes by – it’s so cute!“.
On our way home I ask him “Jono, why were you waving to all those people?“. This is the point the 5 year-old drops a serious knowledge bomb on me:
“Because it’s nice to wave to people”
There we have it folks. Simple, innocent, pure.
The fact is we all secretly want to be acknowledged. Not because we’ve done anything in particular, just because we are there.
It’s confirmation that we exist.
Children have a fundamental understanding of this. If I had to guess why, it’s probably because for so long they can do nothing but just exist and be acknowledged. We forget that feeling as we grow. We are acknowledged less and less, and only because we did something “worthy” of being acknowledged for. Its become a reward.
Our society these days is becoming increasingly introverted.
We “keep to ourselves”
We “mind our own business”
We “leave that woman in peace”
We fear strangers
It’s time we all took a leaf from Jono’s book and waved to a stranger. You don’t actually need to wave, that might be a bit too far on day one. Maybe just smile to a passing stranger in the supermarket as you both go about your shopping. Give your hazards a quick flash when somebody lets you merge in traffic to say thanks.
However you do it, just acknowledge another person, for no reason other than the fact they exist.
Oh, and, because it’s nice.
If you like what you you’ve just read you can follow my blog and get e-mails whenever I post – just use the follow button on this page.
Feel free to share my posts using the sharing buttons below as well – spread the word!
Want to talk about it? Comments are encouraged below!