Recently, I went to Costco to do a little grocery shopping. While I was there I kept passing by a family (mother and four children ages 5-14ish). Each time I would pass them I would smile at them and maybe nod. The first few times I usually caught the eye of the oldest daughter (teenage) and she would never smile back. Not even a smirk. Once, the oldest boy was looking at me as I passed by them to get some milk, so I smiled. Literally, all I saw looking back at me was a blank stare. Finally, the mother and I made eye contact at the second to the last pass. I smiled, thinking surely SHE would have the courtesy to smile back. Nothing but a blank stare, as if I wasn't even there.
O.k. so I'm insecure and need to be noticed by all people. No, not really. I remember growing up in the 80's. If a woman went past me and smiled and my mother noticed, I was told to smile back. Not necessarily giving way to talking to strangers, but just paying forward a common courtesy. My mother was always friendly and kind toward people no matter where we went. She ran a beauty salon in the town I grew up in and I always remember her being kind, outgoing and helpful to all her clients. She taught me to be friendly and by her example, respectful, to those around me.
What is wrong with people today? Well, religiously I believe I know, but casting that aside (since that's not my job to say here), I think people are just down right selfish and inward thinking. If I bump into an elderly person when I'm out, and I smile, they almost always perk up and smile right back. Many of them have told me that just seeing a smile has brightened their day. They come from a generation that was taught to be cordial; That was taught to keep the negative away from everyone else and don't dump all over people; To smile, when you feel like frowning and keep others on a level higher than yourself.
Ahh to live then. I'm glad to be a part of history now, but my grandparent's time seemed much simpler. Life was life and people weren't made to think it was a Cinderella movie. When the Titanic sank people died, it wasn't a big saga of romance and adventure. It was a tragedy. Yet, one that people handled with stride.
I hope to raise my kids to be kind the way my mom raised me. Its not easy and I seem to stink at parenthood, but I am going to keep at it, and hopefully, when they're all grown up, they will smile at everyone they meet. I too, need to up the ante next time I'm out. You never know who you will cheer up just by being kind.