Grocery shopping with a talkative 2-year-old is never dull, to say the least. Yesterday, we did our usual rounds to three stores, and in every one, she talked to anyone within listening distance. In the deli line at one store, she told the woman ahead of us, “We getting turkey.” At the second store, it was “I need this” to anything she could see. Usually it’s “I need ogurt” as we approach the yogurt aisle.
Wal-Mart, though, is where she shines. I’ll confess that I’m not always excited to go to Wal-Mart. Long lines. Unhappy people in front of and behind the register. Screaming kids. And more often than not, I can’t find what I need because it’s out of stock temporarily. That said, my daughter has a way of making the experience better. As we cruised the aisles, she would zero in on a person and say, loudly, “Hi.” Some were people who might have noticed her in the first place, but most were people I normally would have passed in my quest to get in and get out as quickly as possible. She brought smiles to the faces of elderly women who were trying to navigate Wal-Mart’s wide open spaces and to a gentleman who seemed as if he was hoping to go unnoticed. She even out-greeted the greeter as we left the store.
“Hi! We going to the car,” she said before he even saw we were leaving.
Her introverted mother doesn’t always know what to do or say, so I find myself displaying that awkward, “Isn’t she cute?” smile and pressing on to the next aisle.
I struggle to find the right words to say to people in conversation, so I often say nothing when I feel I should say something. Isabelle doesn’t have a filter yet to make her question whether she should say something. She says it, and it makes people smile.
At church on Sunday, she looked at a woman sitting behind — a woman we didn’t know and hadn’t seen in our church before — and said, “You pretty.” Everyone who heard her had a shared “oh how cute” moment. I was sort of embarrassed, but more challenged than anything.
The book of Proverbs says this:
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (25:11)
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” (12:25)
I’ve swallowed more kind words than I’ve spoken, and I’ve let the moment for an apt word pass far too many times.
May I take a cue from a little child and speak from the heart whenever I can.