When my son arrives at the park, he quickly surveys the area looking for one thing: friends.  Now, to him the word friend includes anyone who he may or may not know who is currently at the park.  It doesn't really matter to
him how old they may be, what gender they are, if they are currently playing with siblings or other kids, or even if they happen to obviously be on a date.  Everyone is a friend.  He doesn't really say a whole lot to them, but just enjoys their company.  If they run, he runs.  If they sit, he sits.  If they slide, he slides.  You get the picture.  He very easily makes these friends who usually always seem to reciprocate these innocent gestures of friendship.  It really is sweet to watch other kids or even adults feel flattered that he would want to be their friend.  In his mind, anywhere we go there is always a friend to be made.

The grocery store is no exception and I often find myself touched by the smiles I see on the faces of usually elderly people who appreciate this small two-year-old and the attention he has granted them.  I can’t help but sense the loneliness and perhaps sadness that dissipates as they return the hello and smile.  Sometimes the moment lingers as they ask him questions about his age, the picture on his shirt or if that is his little sister.  Regardless of the urgency I may be feeling, I always allow this exchange of friendship to take place because I understand that this moment is more important in the scheme of life than my list of errands.  And really, there is something I should be learning from it.

I find myself slightly humbled at the willingness that my two-year-old has to just be a friend to all he meets.  He has no reservations about what others may think about him and I find myself empowered and motivated when I see the easy success he has.  I can’t help but wonder why adults - myself included- sometimes struggle with just being friendly to everyone they meet.  Why do we hesitate to say hello?  What are we afraid of?  Especially when we know that a kind gesture would probably make a difference, shouldn't we just make the simple effort? Probably, yet still we hesitate. This two-year-old who is still so young and naive in the ways of the world ,however, does not. He understands something we as adults have forgotten or perhaps are just so busy to remember.

So even though I have so much to teach my two-year-old about life, I find myself the student as he so innocently befriends all he meets.  I see the warmth of appreciation in their eyes and I know that he has made a difference in their day.  I feel obligated to follow his simple example to be kind and make the so very easy gesture of just saying hello, because after all, we can all use more friends.

1 comment:

  1. I too have been amazed how easily and sweetly little children make friends! Why do we not carry that attribute into adulthood? Maybe it is because we think we are too busy. But now, as a grandma I find myself smiling at little strangers who would be my friend. The color of their hair, the sound of a sweet giggle, remind me of my own precious grandchildren. (And how much I miss them) And maybe, just maybe I remind them of someone who loves them very much too.


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