When you read this word, did you automatically want to say hello in response? Did it make you smile? 🙂
In English, or in any other language, this word has become one of the most powerful words in the world.
Such a simple word has turned strangers into friends, lifted someone’s spirits, and made someone feel welcomed when they didn’t feel like they fit in.
My post today is inspired by an article shared by the Kitchener Public Library on Facebook. It’s a list from www.teachthought.com of 30 books that inspire empathy in children, although you don’t need to be a child to read them. What started me thinking about the word HELLO wasn’t the list itself, but the remarks made in the Comments section. There was a discussion going on about whether you should say hello to a stranger when you are out and about. For some people, it’s a given, a gesture of politeness. For others, they saw such a gesture as an invasion, stating that some people just want to be left alone, or maybe too shy to engage in a conversation with a stranger.
When did we become such a cynical society, that the idea of saying hello to someone, can be seen as something offensive? I am a very shy person, but I live in a neighbourhood, where saying hello to someone when you are out for a stroll is just…well, it’s just done. This acknowledgement is usually brief, but has sometimes lead to a short conversation (especially of said individual is out walking a dog. 😉 ). Even when I have wanted to be alone in my thoughts, this gesture has lifted my spirits, making me appreciate the type of community that I live in.
I’m lucky that way.
Maybe that’s why I think of the word hello as being so powerful. I am not prying into someone’s life, I let them decide if my action leads to a conversation or not. It’s wonderful when it does.
Take this past Mother’s Day. While waiting for our seat at a local restaurant (I was with my family, my folks and my MIL), an elderly gentleman came over and said hello, and wished the ladies a happy Mother’s Day. This lead to a brief but humourous conversation that made me feel like I was talking to the late, great George Carlin. This gentleman’s wit and sarcastic, but good-natured humour made us all laugh, and brightened what was already of lovely afternoon.
And it all started with a HELLO.
So remember, when you are out there (in the world that seems to encourage, way too often, the nasty and the self-absorbed), to say hello to that stranger that you may otherwise pass by.
You just might make their day. 🙂
Don’t forget to check out the list above. I have read two of the books, #12 and #30, and saw the movie version of #29.
One more thing, I was just about to post this, when a friend shared this on Facebook. Ladies and gentlemen, the HELLO BENCH.
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