Don’t Talk to Strangers?
We teach children when they are young not to talk to strangers. There have been books written on the topic, school curriculums taught on the subject, and awareness brought to families that young kids shouldn’t talk to people they don’t know.
Lucy, our youngest, doesn’t listen to any of this. At 5 years old, her favorite thing to do is talk to strangers. She talks to them at ball games, in the grocery store or simply walking down the street. Lucy has made tough looking guys smile, serious moms on a mission stop and laugh, and grocery store clerk faces light up.
The other day we were walking out of Petco and we stopped (with the dog and her older sister) for about 5 minutes while Lucy asked this woman about her animal (a cat), what she was doing at Petco, and why she had left the cat at home and not brought it to the store. People are pleasantly surprised when she strikes up a conversation with them. Most of them take the time to stop and chat, and they usually walk away with a grin on their face.
Lucy’s older brother plays a lot of baseball in the summer. At almost every game Lucy would go up to a complete stranger (ones with a dog) and end up walking their dog, even holding its leash. She would take her time to get to know them a little by asking them questions and being her cute self, then she’d go in for the “ask” of walking the dog. 9 times out of 10 they would say “yes” and I would see her walking along with a new leash and a new friend holding her hand as they walked.
I wonder if Lucy is actually getting it right? I wonder if she is close to the heart of the gospel as she smiles and reaches out to the strangers in her everyday life. She is only 5, but I learn a lot from the way she lives in her little world.
How many strangers do we reach out to? How many times do we stop and get to know someone going into a store or walking their dog? Do we care about the clerk behind the counter or are we too busy rushing on to the next thing?
Matthew’s gospel says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…” Matthew 25:35
Maybe it’s time for all of us to get to know a few more strangers.
KC DiNardo, Assistant Minister, Director of Student Ministries and The Well