Our urban home has received many garden compliments this year. The best way to make this homeowner’s day is to compliment the garden. We live in a (small) city so our cheery garden, cloth diapers line drying, and willingness to chat with strangers is often a surprise.
People of all types stop to look at our flowers and are interested in the strawberry patch and watermelons (growing across from a bus stop.) I enjoy observing reactions to our unexpected garden when the passersby are not aware of my presence. (Please note that when in a city, people inside can probably hear what you are saying as you walk on the sidewalk!) Other than our one incident with a girl picking my flowers, strangers have been kind and appreciative of the garden.
I often feel a sense of community is missing from today’s modern lifestyle. I grew up in the South, where greeting strangers is commonplace. When I started walking with my daughter I made a conscious effort to observe and be apart of our neighborhood. I also decided to purposefully say hello to every person we passed on our walk. I want my daughter to be kind and welcoming. The only way to embark such qualities is to model them myself.
Today is 9-11 and one aspect I keep remembering about that earth shattering time 13 years ago was the kindness displayed in the aftermath. Everyone felt vulnerable. Pettiness was brushed aside and folks started to say hello to one another. Strangers helped strangers. Everyone was affected by the tragedy and it seemed (to me) that everyone remembered that you never know what life has dealt the person next to you.
One of my biggest surprises of motherhood was how being out and about with a baby seemed to bring a smile to strangers. Even tough looking high school students smile at her. Babies, like our country post 9-11, are vulnerable. That defenselessness seems to attract graciousness.
I challenge everyone to say hello to at least 5 people tomorrow.
Don’t get frustrated if their reactions are curt. Some will surprise you. You never know what kind of a day someone is having. A kind smile may be just what they need.
It is easy to get caught up in our own world, but there is a big world around you.
As I say to my daughter, be kind.
The world needs more kindness.