The Power Of Saying "Hi"


My son is 5 going on 6. It's a slightly awkward and complex age paradigm.  His personality is still developing. His pants fit him fine one day and are too short the next. Life is awesome one second, totally awful the next. He is a boy. He is still learning about himself and the world around him. The world around him is a constant classroom.

And just like us, the little things can make or break his day.

When he first started school, he was shy and apprehensive to talk or say "hi" to anyone. I look at that as pretty normal for most children. Despite his regular social butterfly personality, he was playing the extrovert for those first few days. He would come home and tell me that no one would play with him. He said he would say "hi" to someone and they would run off and play with someone else. My advice was always the same, "Once they know you, they will say 'hi' first. I might take some time but it will happen." I don't think my words were giving him a false sense of hope. I believed in my words because I understand how he feels and it's what I tell myself in every new and scary situation.

I know what kind of power a "hi" can have. In a new job. In a new job position. In a playground saturated with other parents. In a classroom as you start down a path of a new business or career. The power of "hi" is everything. Not a desultory "hi". The type of "hi" that you can feel is genuine.

Someone showing acknowledgement. Someone noticing that you are right there. Someone really seeing you.

Weeks went by and those sad stories that my son brought home had become nonexistent. When I would go to the school with my son, there were kids everywhere saying "hi" to him as he entered the classroom and "bye!" as he left for the day. I watched my son's face with each passing acknowledgement. He would walk taller. He would lift his chin and smile at his classmate. His good feelings were written all over in his body language. He would return the "hi" or start a conversation. It never felt plastic but it was very "kindergarten". Very chatty and "can I come to your house and play?" and "you can come to my birthday party" type of 5-year-old banter. It's like they have been friends since they were zygotes.

Maybe, just maybe, if we could look at our little ones and show them the power "hi" can give, there would be less bullying in this world. How can you hate a person when they say "hi" to you? They showed interest in you. They were paying attention. They want to know you or they wouldn't have said anything. Imagine how our relationships could be now if we just said something then. If we helped start the "hi" trend or if we hopped on board early enough that it got the ball rolling. That "hi" would be a welcome at first. Then, naturally, comes a friendship. And if that friendship dissolves, you still have some understanding of that person who was in your life during your most vulnerable years. The power of "hi" is mighty.

That "hi" could mean an idyllic relationship. That "hi" could change someone's mind about being cruel. That "hi" could be the difference between a situation staying normal or becoming tonight's evening news.

 That's the reason why I never think twice about saying "hi" to someone new.




the robot mommy