My son, Eli, recently mastered the art of waving, and as when most children develop a new skill, he likes to show it off. All. Of. The. Time.
One of my favorite things to watch him do during this waving phase is close our double doors separating the dining room to the living room.
Every time, Eli slowly closes the doors and stops every few seconds to stick his hand between the crack and wave at whoever is on the other side, as if to say, “I’ll be going now … I’m leaving … Ok, bye … I said ‘bye!’”
I’m not sure where he learned that, because I sure didn’t teach him.
A few days ago, our family of four made a rare appearance at one of the local grocery stores to purchase some essentials. Yes, I used the term “rare” — when you have a 7-month-old daughter and a 19-month-old son, you’ll understand.
While strolling up and down the aisles, Eli has to wave at everything and everyone — he never meets a stranger. As my lovely wife, Kelly, loaded our cart with different items, I took a moment to watch him and the people’s reaction.
Eli waved at a young woman, and I could tell she saw him because she slightly grinned. But despite him waving at her for a solid 30 seconds, she never waved back.
He also waved at a big, tall gentleman, who some children may see as a little scary. He immediately smiled, waved back and said something to the effect of, “Hey, little man.”
One of the last times, he waved at an elderly woman, and I thought she was going to cry.
When Eli began to wave, she didn’t see at first. She was picking through the produce, determined to find the best apples. But when she finally noticed, the look in her eyes shifted from stress and anguish to overwhelming joy. Though she was wearing a mask, I could see a wide smile underneath. She stopped what she was doing and waved back. Then she walked up and called him, “cute” and “precious,” and commented on his blue eyes. She also commented on our sweet daughter, Opal.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Eli’s simple, innocent gesture made this woman’s day. I know it made mine.
As a parent, it’s commonplace to teach your children different things, yet there are so many lessons they can teach us and remind us of.
In a time when our society is so divided and distraught over COVID-19 and politics, a heartfelt wave, “good morning” or “have a good day” can go a long way.
I wish we could all see the world through the kind eyes of a child again – eyes that see people, not black or white, Democrat or Republican.
During election time, we always hear about the red and/or blue waves coming. I’d rather see a bipartisan wave of kindness.
Would that solve every problem of the world? No. But it is the answer to the majority of them.
So to paraphrase something I heard someone say recently, in a world where we can be anything, let’s be kind.
Taylor Beck is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. He can be reached at email@example.com