This is the thought that came to mind after an interaction with some young guys. I was on my way to a coffee shop, and one of them said, “Morning”.
My simple response in kind sparked an excited reaction. I could hear him and his mates excitedly gabbing about it (in Bahasa*) even when I was half way up the road. I reckon I made their day. Or at least the 1st part of it. Simply by responding to his,
Acknowledgement, can sometimes be enough to speak into a situation. Soothe a wound. Soften the silence.
A silly example. When someone steps on your foot…
I used to think I was totally disingenuous when this happened to me. Imagine the scene: You’re out shopping or whatever, and someone bounces into (1), stepping on your foot for free (2). I’m annoyed, and in my head going, “So you can’t say excuse me.” or “That’s fine, don’t mind me!” and then the person turns round and says,
And what do I do?
That’s okay./No worries./No problem.
For an age I used to be like, Janice, look how you was ready to cuss, and then seconds later you’re like, it’s all good.
Then one day it dawned on me, it was the acknowledgment. The awareness on the part of the person who ‘wounded’ me. Recognition of their action having impacted me. Them doing something about it. It had the power to diffuse my annoyance, my offence…
As I said, a silly or rather simple example. Yet I think a useful one to highlight a deeper truth.
Having things acknowledged helps. Having that acknowledgement coupled with action, even more so.
From responding to that young man’s “Morning“. Which considering that it may have been one of the few English words he knew, likely required more than just opening up His mouth and saying the word. Such as, plucking up the courage to speak to the foreigner. Risking embarrassment in front of his friends. Possibly being responded to with disdain… Purely my suppositions, but potentially valid.
To the much weightier matters of our lives. Between partners, families, neighbours, communities, even nations.
The responsive, intentional, use of our words can make a powerful difference. Positively impacting the lives of those we interact with. Whether fleetingly, or in a sustained way.
*Bahasa Indonesia – National language of Indonesia. Indonesia has in excess of 300 living languages and dialects. Some statistics state 700+
~ Optional extra:
- The Power of Acknowledgement – 7 principles
- Ted talk I watched today by Sukina Pilgram|Does Poetry Have the Potential to Heal