Last week’s two interactions with a family. I didn’t know them, and I still don’t know them.
The woman of African American decent, who looked a handful of years younger than me, pushed a stroller with a baby, and couple little girls accompanied her. As they were exiting the building, I held the door open for the family to go through. The mother, I presume, didn’t say thank you at first, but said it soon after the two little girls passed through.
The two girls, possibly around a year apart, had their hair braided tightly. One had plastic beads in her hair, strands which clapped as she skipped on by. The first one said hello. The second echoed the salutation. Both kids smiled.
I smiled and replied back with a hello following each.
It would have been a difficult time trying not to smile. The two kept saying hello, one after the other in almost a teeter-totter fashion. Their mother smiled, shook her head.
I’m not worried about the next generation. By definition — actually, it’s a technicality — my date of birth falls in line with what society has categorized as Millenial (or Generation Y — Why? Because we like you!) This is not necessarily speaking of Generation Z specifically. In general speaking, the group of youth who are young and old enough to be my kid.
In similar fashion to every single person on this planet, I’m going through the stages and accepting the fact that time is moving on, society is growing more diverse and changing — for the better because anything good comes from taking on and overcoming challenges, an uphill battle — and it’s time to accept and roll with the punches. However, using cliches, which is kind of a no-no in writing, is still fun even with cliches older than I am.
My great and grandparents had to deal with television, and my parents didn’t hesitate to accept it. My parents had to deal with video game technology advancement and the internet, and we loved every minute of it. Note: We did spend a significant amount of time outdoors in comparison to time in front of the screen.
Of course, there are a plethora of societal issues we’ve all had to sort through. There are far too many to list, and this isn’t something tap into for this post. However, the more recent generations, being exposed to “more” diversity and media/education, directly and indirectly, telling them to accept one another, are definitely more tolerant.
Yes, it’s amazing how my 2-year-old nephew, plus those a year younger and a handful years older, had the ability to somehow scroll and use electronic devices as babies. My parents were amazed when I learned how to change records, use the TV remote, and use the VCR.
I listened to 10,000 Maniacs back in the day. Now I see 10,000 maniacs post on social media. One is music to the ears. The other is candy everybody wants, except the candy yields frustration and throbbing headaches.
All I have to come to terms with are memes and lingo. However, people are still going to be people.
The following day, I was headed out for my lunchtime walkabout, following the regular path that fills up the half hour.
While walking out, the kid waited in the vestibule, the space between the two sets of doors between the lobby and the sidewalk. Their mother was outside. As I approached, I smiled. They recognized me.
I motioned over to open the right door. One of the girls pressed both of her hands against the door. Cue my astonished look. I went left, and the other kid did the same. I put my hands on my head. When my feet stepped right or left, little hands pushed against the glass.
But saying hello and smiling as tongues flick out the two-syllable word. There really isn’t an art to it, simple eloquence. There really isn’t an art to kindness. There really isn’t an art to relating to another human — just have to let it happen and accept how it positively affects you.
If an experience doesn’t affect you for the better, just move on.
These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow in you, in you…
“These are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs (Our Time in Eden, 1992)