Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Kindness of a Child--It's a big Deal!

My nine-year-old son has gotten in the habit of saying, "Hi, how are you?" to the cashiers in the stores we shop in.  You wouldn't think that would be too big of a deal, right?

Actually, as it turns out, it IS a big deal!  For some, anyway.

It started out as a simple act of obedience.  When he was younger, Little Mister might mumble a hi in answer to an adult's hello, if he could be bothered to do even that in all his busyness.

We told him, though, that he needed to show respect to adults or anyone else who took the time to greet him.  We instructed him to make eye contact and acknowledge the greeting.  No amount of shyness (which is not him, usually) or busyness (which is totally him) is an excuse for rudeness or lack of respect, especially toward one's elders!

It took him awhile to make this a habit, and I think he still forgets once in awhile, but overall he has done a great job showing respect in this way.

Then, several months ago, he took it to the next level on his own.  Now he often initiates greeting store personnel and fellow customers enthusiastically and genuinely.  I don't know what it is about stores, except that maybe he now feels too old to straighten the cold cuts and cheeses in the refrigerated sections and the jars of pasta sauces on the shelves, so he has more time to look around him and notice people.

It's funny how people often do a double-take when they hear his greetings.  Ah, wouldn't it be sweet if our society still took the time to greet each other, strangers included?  Wouldn't we be a bit happier as a people if it wasn't a surprise when a child noticed and acknowledged us?

Sometimes the cashiers just gush over Little Mister when he asks them how they are.  Last night at Martin's, the beaming woman who rang up our groceries said to him something like, "It made me feel so special that you would speak to me like that!"

Wow.  If it is sooo special that a boy said, "Hi, how are you," how must she often be treated as she goes about serving people throughout her work day?  Oh, yes, it's her job and she gets paid to do it and all of that, but is that really any reason to ignore her or treat her badly?

I remember a particular lady in Walmart at Christmas time, who was so very touched by Little Mister's simple kindness, I thought she was going to start crying or something!  If a hello and a how are you? meant that much to her . . . that poor, poor woman!  Yet she was so blessed in that moment!

With everything my Little Mister is "working on" in his young life, I'm inspired by his desire to start reaching out and his tenacity to make it a habit overall.  I've always tried to be friendly with the employees of places I frequent, but the sound of my son's simple kindness sometimes reminds me to lift my eyes from my Dave Ramsey wallet and focus on this one whom God has allowed me to cross paths with, even for just the short time it takes to ring up and bag groceries.  That person matters greatly to God, right then and there, as he/she quietly does his/her job.

Thanks for the reminder, Little Mister. :)


  1. Wow, that is great! I have got to get my kids going on that one. I see too many adults who won't even make eye contact with the cashier, let alone even speak, when she says "Hi, how are you?" My daughter usually just says Hi, but one time she came over and thanked a mom for volunteering to set up the band room, and I heard all about it from the other mom!

  2. Respect and friendliness are important aspects of life, things which are too rare today. You can be proud of your son!

  3. How great that your son has the confidence and the respect to greet adults like that. How much we can learn from him about how we treat others. We never know the difference a few kind words can make in someone else's day.

  4. @Zenia: Yes, it seems we live in a rather cold society at times. Maybe busyness has something to do with it--we've all got our agendas to take care of and limited time. I like old movies that show people visiting with their neighbors or with people in the grocery aisles--it's heart-warming. :) Good for you daughter! Every act of kindness has a ripple effect. People notice!

  5. @Gail: Yes, I am proud of him! I hope he continues, and someday is a positive example for his own kids. :) Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. @Lori: Yes, it's true that even a few kind words can go a long way and make a big impact. We never know why God might put particular people in our path, and may we never miss an opportunity to bless someone because we're too intent on our shopping list! lol :)


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