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Naperville
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Real Life – Siloed no more

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A trip to the store can be a bore, unless you have a six-year-old for company. 

My granddaughter and I made a stop after school this week, where with her newly-honed reading skills she guided us through the list to be sure we got everything we needed. 

Our fellow shoppers lit up when they saw her excitement with life. Several commented, while others just smiled. 

Some particularly catchy background music track was playing, and I demonstrated an Irish dance step, which she immediately mimicked. We made our way through the aisles with me spontaneously breaking into our routine, and her following along with a squeal, until we arrived at the front of the store.

There, an employee approached us with a grin on his face and asked if he could join in our dancing, which of course was a no-brainer, because anyone who feels free to dance in Jewel is carefree enough to include what the younger generation might label “randoms.”

But who, after all, are these randoms, formerly called strangers, other than friends we have just not yet met?

Schools to their credit are teaching children strategies for coping, and emphasizing social-emotional learning in their curriculums. 

To the adults I would say, help us all, and help yourselves, by brushing up on your social skills. 

Lead by example.

I know you think you’re overstimulated, but pull out your earbuds. Stop talking on the phone while you’re walking around, and definitely stop reading on your phone when you’re walking in public or crossing the street.

Instead, wish a stranger good morning and comment on the weather. Notice the literal buds bursting, the flowers blooming, and the parents pushing babies in strollers.

I have made it a habit to talk with anyone walking a dog, or wearing a cat on her shoulder, for that matter. (This happened. I kid you not.)

My life has been uplifted by these interactions.

Maybe yours will be, too. ©

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Patti Koltes
Patti Koltes
Real Life © by Patti Koltes. Contact her at pkoltes@gmail.com.
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