She rushes past me as we enter the indoor play center, tossing her coat and shoes into the designated slots by the entrance. I see her golden locks flying through the air as she leaps for a young girl by the slide.
"Hi I'm Sitora and I'm 4."
My daughter is not shy. Nor is she scared of meeting new people. Quite the contrary to be exact. One of her hobbies of choice is making friends.
She once told me, "Mom, strangers are just friends we haven't met yet."
(Believe me, we've gone over the many lessons of "stranger danger". She has a healthy fear of strangers but yet she also holds a special place in her heart for the possibility of them as friends.)
I've learned a lot from this little girl and her confidence. It's really quite fascinating.
When you were a child, do you remember entering a strange room full of kids and assuming your new best friend would become evident immediately? Did you find a kid on the play ground and just strike up a conversation about barbies (or teenage ninja turtles) like it was no big deal?
At least for me, this was true. I didn't analyze the situation 3 hours before we left for the park. I didn't go over in my head what I would say or how I would approach a girl my age. I assumed everyone liked me. I mean, why wouldn't they? I had awesome huge red-rimmed glasses and wore my hair in a side pony tail like a boss. I rocked the nerd look before it became hipster. I didn't worry that someone wouldn't like me. At least not as a young child. (I think those worries started around junior high. And that is a another story for another time.)
As adults, I think we have lost that childlike positive outlook. I've found that we either have one of two perspectives...
1. I'm a great person. I have a lot to offer. I'm sure everyone here would like me once they got to know me!
2. I'm not quite sure about myself. I don't think people will like me when they first meet me, and especially once they really get to know me.
Which category do you fit in? Maybe you are somewhere in the middle.
I usually feel like #1. The only reason I sometimes feel like #2 is if I've been hurt by someone. Then it would take time for me to pull myself back to #1.
I know this is an odd post. I really do. But I got to thinking today about how this affects us as adults in new situations.
It affects how we reach out to new people at parties, events, church. It affects how me make new friends. It affects how we function in a group setting.
I want to be more like my daughter. I want to approach people with confidence that God has given me. Sure there are days when I feel down and out about myself. There are days when I don't feel like talking to anyone. Days when I just want to be with people who already know me and understand me. But many times in life we have to step out and meet someone new, for whatever reason. A first impression can be so important! Maybe if we think, "Hey, I should go talk to that person. Maybe they are feeling shy or unsure of themselves. I want to make them feel welcome."
"Hi, I'm Casey and I'm 29!"
Laugh. Out. Loud.
Maybe more like, "Hi, I'm Casey. I don't think I've met you before. What's your name? Its great to meet you!"
Lessons learned from a child.