When is the Last Time You Learned Someone’s Name?

Have you ever thought about how important it is to learn someone’s name?  I’m sure that’s not something we sit around and contemplate each day, but perhaps we should.

I’ll bet there are a number of people we speak to, each time we encounter them, whose names we don’t know.  I’ll bet we’ve had conversations with some of them, numerous times.

There’s likely a cashier, server, security guard, bus driver or custodian that we speak or wave to all the time, whose name we don’t know.  Worse yet, there are probably neighbors right next door that we could pick out in a line up, but couldn’t identify by name.

And the friendly old lady who hugs us in church every Sunday… the one who always sits in our row… what’s her name? Could she be related to the nameless co-worker that we talk to in the cafeteria?

Using someone’s name when we address them shows they’re important. It confirms that they are worth notice and that their existence matters.  It shows them respect.

If you already know all the names in your sphere, then you deserve a round of applause. But, if there’s someone whose name you should know, but don’t, ask them the next time you see them.  And use it when you see them, after that. Yours could be the only acknowledgment they’ve received in a long time.

Sounds like common sense, right? It is, but it’s worth a reminder.  Because every person should know that their existence matters.

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Are We Listening to Our Kids?

How often do we listen to our kids?  I mean REALLY listen.

It’s so easy in the busyness of our days to give a casual glance or an automatic “Umm Hmm” when our kids are talking to us. After all, while they’re rambling on, we’re cooking, cleaning, studying, chauffeuring and working on the answer to world peace, all at the same time.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about teens, it’s that they aren’t overly excited to run home and tell you about their life unless they’ve just made the varsity team.  They’ve been raised in a world where conversations are typed, hugs are virtual and feelings are expressed in emoji’s.  Verbal communication takes time and effort and they’ve got better things to do.

When your youth starts talking about their day, without prompting, something important is going on in their life.   If it weren’t of some significance, they wouldn’t be talking.  They’re likely looking for some parental advice that they’re way too cool to ask for and it may come in the form of “asking for a friend.” So dig in, question them and ask them how the situation they’re describing makes them feel.

It’s time to “stay woke” parents.  Let’s put down our phones, turn off Netflix and tune into our kids.  Let’s capture those rare moments when they’re communing with us to find out what’s causing them to acknowledge we’re in the room. Because if we don’t show them they’re important, someone else will, and whose influence would we rather they have?

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