I was checking out at Lowes last night; it is time to plant my summer garden. It was apparent the young man checking me out had some special needs, his speech was a bit impaired, but he was easily understood and so pleasant and kind.
As he scanned my okra, peppers, zucchini, and herbs, he carefully took care of all my things for me and then looked up at me and said “You know what?”….and then pauses, I could tell he stopped himself. Then he asked me this question that I have been thinking about for the past 24 hours… He said, “Do you like compliments?” and then waited for me to answer. I said “Sure!”, “He said you have such a bright, beautiful smile.” I said “Aww, thank you!” And flashed these giant pearly whites.
As I left, he said, “Have a nice night and keep smiling!” I walked away with a big grin and thought how precious. It was such a joy interacting with this young man.
I started thinking, I wonder if he has learned about asking questions like that the hard way? It made me wonder if he has learned that he talks a lot and maybe it has got him in trouble previously and so he has learned to ask questions to navigate what some of us might just do by a feeling or social cues.
Questions are powerful and I saw the power this young man displayed with this simple question.
Consider all the offense all around us and how many people are getting hurt by careless words, by careless interactions, by assumptions of one sex when interacting with another, in intimate moments, in conference rooms, in church settings, in classrooms, what if we did like my Lowes-cashier-man, and stopped ourselves, maybe even mid-sentence and ask a powerful question?
Maybe we just recognize and accept that we as people all have our own feelings, preferences, opinions, experiences, trauma, wants, and desires, and just live with the fact that some may seem stupid to us and some may sound genius, all because we are so amazingly different.
Maybe we approach each other with child-like wonder, with amazement, with genuine care because that light you see in the eyes of the person in front of you, neither of us put it there!
Maybe ask a simple, sweet, and what might seem like a “silly question, just because that soul you are facing is a precious light bearer! They are another precious being breathing in the same air, reliant on the same trees, living from the same rainfall as you, and the humanity in you can reach out to the humanity in them, and just acknowledge how a powerful, simple, dignified question can build bridges between us, can heal wounds, can create ties and bonds, save lives, stop wars, and inspire and revive us.
My dears, I hope you think of this the next time you are interacting with a friend, a new co-worker, a new employee, a spouse, a child, or a stranger… pause and ask a question, one that dignifies that precious being in front of you, that acknowledges we are different (and that is a GOOD thing).
Ask a question that might create a bridge instead of a wall.
I hope you get to see the light in someone’s eyes today and ask them a really great question. You could maybe even start with “Do you like compliments?”
From My to Yours
P.S. I have a friend and co-worker that has a powerful blog and resources on Leading with Questions, a great place to learn more about the power of questions. Bob Tiede https://leadingwithquestions.com/