When I go somewhere with my kids we are quite the parade. A stroller, sometimes a front carrier, diaper bag, my purse, blankets, snacks and whatever my 3, 2 and 10 month old might possibly need while we are out. I’m wrangling kids, probably a few minutes late and without fail I hear a, “hey Katie!! How are you?!” Seriously?! I only have 2 hands, 2 eyes, 3 kids, a stroller bags, noise, traffic, and everything else and you want to say hi and have a conversation?! I slap a smile on my face, try to make eye conversation and say hello. My mind and heart are usually in major conflict at that moment.
Gracious on the go. That’s what I call it. How do I kindly, graciously, and efficiently greet someone properly and have a quick connection while not stopping and getting off schedule? How do I prefer people and promote community when my hands are seriously over flowing? How do I build friendships when I see them in Target but the clock is ticking before my kids completely lose it?! Well I have nowhere near figured it out but have been thinking about it. Here are some of my thoughts.
1. Try to not be late to where you are going. I know, I know. Easier said than done and definitely a strong suit for me, especially on Sunday morning. In truth, this alone would probably alleviate a lot of this.
2. If someone says hello, respond. If someone was kind enough to say hello, have the courtesy to respond. Eye contact would be a bonus but at least say hi. Ignoring them
is not an option. Rude rude rude. If you are on a schedule, DON’T ask a question. Say, “Great to see you!!” “Or let’s catch up soon!” “Trying to get to …. On time!”
3. If you can have a quick convo do it. Say hi and mention that you only have a minute. That way when you have to leave suddenly it was expected and not a surprise
4. Have a snack for the kids. If you are in Target, bring a little bag of snacks. A bag of Annie’s bunny crackers can buy you at least a 5 minute conversation. Sometimes a small book or toy can accomplish the same thing.
5. Have the kids contained. Stroller, hand holding, a baby carrier. That way everyone is safe so if something drops, someone says hi, or you need to focus (or go to the restroom) you can focus on them or what you need to do.
6. When walking keep your head up and look for those around you. Wave, be kind, say hi and just go for it.
7. If you are able to chat have all the elements of a conversation. Eye contact, greeting, interaction, and closing.
8. If you think about it later send a text, call or send a message connecting to say how nice it was to see them.
9. Pray and ask God to be steadfast. Have the same character and attitude regardless of your situation. He will help you and give you wisdom.
Anyone have a great story about this or crazy mishaps?! Hopefully this can help us all be a bit more thoughtful and aware when on the go.