“I only said ‘Hi Ms. <<Name>>, how ya doin’?”
But he did so much more. He made a notable impression. In that simple encounter.
The Back Story
I went in to my son’s school for my weekly classroom volunteering. While I was signing in, the school secretary made a point to tell me what a lovely child I have and how she gave him a Buzz Buck (a written complement). Apparently, while passing her in the hallway he had greeted her by name and asked her how she was doing. She told me she was touched by how well-mannered and polite he was.
This month he received the ‘Administrator’s Award – In recognition of outstanding citizenship: Mannerly – Demonstrated Common Courtesy.’
It speaks to me not just of manners but of the simplicity and power of acknowledgement, that basic human need. A four syllable word that can forge connections in an oh-so-busy world.
The Boy Back Story
My son didn’t see anything special in what he had done. Just an everyday interaction.
I asked if he met the lady’s eye when he talked to her. Yes.
I asked if he was genuinely interested when he asked her how she was. Yes.
I asked if he waited for a response when he asked her how she was. Yes.
I asked if he listened to and responded to her response. Yes.
Four simple details that meant that a very special lady noticed and rewarded him.
Squids and Kindness – what?
Last week my daughter was proud to tell us that she had been honored by receiving the Squid Award – it’s an award within her classroom where classmates vote for people who show kindness, encouragement, and are role models for them. She won the award.
Just the week before during parent teacher conferences I learned how she had helped a friend on the playground who was upset and frightened. She took the time to truly see her friend, not make fun of her or dramatize, but be an empathetic and compassionate companion for her friend to be with while seeking out help from an adult.
How thankful I am for the learning and reminders of true grace I receive from my children.
Communication or Connection?
In this world of texts, facebooking, tweeting, cell phones and land lines, emails, so many ways to communicate, where overwhelm is more commonplace than calm, there seems to be so much communication but perhaps less true connection.
I was thinking about these small honors that my children received last week, and how they struck my heart with more than just examples of good manners and kindenss.
They acknowledged other people, made a connection.
Connection is an essential element in our human experience.
And as Brené Brown says in The Gifts of Imperfection:
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Acknowledgement and connection. Simple and powerful.
I acknowledged my children for their manners, kindness and values in action. They inspired me to revisit the importance of acknowledgement and connection.
Are there people in your life you have not been acknowledging in your busyness?
Are there aspects of yourself that would welcome acknowledgement?
Do you connect with those around you or do you just communicate?
I’d love to hear your comments.