15 Minutes: greeting others 

Hello!  I'm back.  We were out of town for over a week, and once we arrived back home, Tom had major aunt, uncle, and grandparent withdrawal.  He wouldn't eat food unless it was fruit, he was super grumpy and clingy.  Nothing made him happy unless we went out of the house so he could say hi to everyone we saw.  Trader Joe's and daily Mass were the highlights of his worst days. 

Two mornings ago he woke up super joyful and pleasant, and has been ever since!  Back to his old self.  We went to the zoo yesterday, and after two hours he was ready for a nap.  As we left, he tearfully waved and said bye-bye to everyone we passed.  It was hilarious, especially because the folks didn't know whether to laugh or to take him seriously. 

We went to Mass as a family last night, and Alex held Tom while receiving the Eucharist.  As soon as Alex said "Amen," Tom said "Hi!" to the priest, who promptly greeted him in return with a chuckle.  So funny and so sweet.  

I love how ready and willing Tom is to acknowledge the personhood of everyone with either a Hi or Bye-bye.  I've told my husband for a while now that I am going to teach our children that greeting another person is just as important as please, thank you, you're welcome, no thank you, and I'm sorry.  Hello or goodbye states the fact that someone is worth acknowledging, even if only briefly.  

{I've seen too many kids these days bowl right past parents and straight for their friends.  The parents deserve a hello as they allowed that play date to happen!}  

We just see too many people get right to the point, or completely ignore those around them.  By [hopefully] teaching our kids to greet everyone with a hello and a smile, hopefully others will not be ignored.  Each kid is different, and some are shy and others obstinate, so we'll deal with that when it comes.  But every person you encounter should not be ignored.  I don't mean saying hello to EVERYONE in the grocery store or in Mass (which Tom does), but to those in at your play date, moms' outing, in crossing while on a walk.  Even a nod or a smile can suffice. 

Sometimes I do worry that someone will be rude to Tom, and then he will stop being so outgoing and cheerful.  I wonder if it will come from one of us, a family member, a friend, or a stranger.  I hope no one crushes his joy.  I really hope and pray that Alexander and I will only build him up with our words, never put him down.  Sometimes even now Alex and I have to take a moment to evaluate why Tom is acting this or that way.  Many times our struggles with him come from our own impatience because we feel we cannot control the situation.  If we can maintain some sort of communication about where Tom is at, hopefully it will allow us to be more graceful and gracious in our speech and tone towards him.  There are too many "bad" things in this world, why be part of it in a small way?  By using our words to build up and encourage others, as well as to acknowledge others, we can change the small corner of our world in with we live.  xoxo, Alex  "There are so many unpleasant things in the world already that there is no use in imagining any more." 

~Lucy Maud Montgomery