Convo With the PoPo

popo1We took the family to a parade today.  When we arrived, it was colder than we thought so I took Liliana to the car to add more layers.  We were parked around the corner from our house, so Milton drove home to get my coat and a blanket for Maximus.  Maximus and Nana stayed and watched the parade.  While I waited for him to return, I decided to chat with the police officer that was directing traffic.

I’ll admit, I’ve had very little interactions with police officers.  I’ve had one speeding ticket and that’s really about all.

But, with all that is happening right now with black men being killed (i.e. Eric Garner and Mike Brown) I figured there was no time like today to talk to one.

As I walked up to him, he made a funny comment about Liliana’s legs in her baby carrier.  I told him I had a question to ask him.  I said, “What are your feelings with everything happening in today’s society with the police?” His expression was priceless. I listened to him give his viewpoint on everything, including how to start change.  It wasn’t a time for me to agree or disagree with him (which I did both), but a time to hear his view from his experiences.  He didn’t sugar coat his answers and you could tell he was still uncertain about some things.

Our conversation ended toward the time Milton pulled back up in his car.  At the end of the parade when Nana, Maximus and everyone was were walking back to the car, I introduced him to the family.  He gave Nana a hug and Maximus a high five and a sticker.

I know I didn’t solve all of the world’s problems with that one interaction.  However, I do know that I took one step toward improving relationships.  I know that I started exposing my toddler son to the police.  I know my mother-in-law who screams at the tv while watching CNN appreciated his small gesture.  I know that many police officers are friendly and approachable.

Change starts one person, one conversation at a time.popo2

Small Talk

Today I tried to make a difference.

Although I can’t change society as a whole, I can take small steps. With social media, very few people have in person conversations. How can we start to understand people if we don’t take time to communicate?

This morning Liliana and I went to Target. In addition to buying half of the store, we stopped and had conversations with complete strangers.

*We talked with a mother of a two-year-old boy about how easy Christmas is for kids this young. Her son got restless and I instantly thought of Maximus.

*We talked with a man about how hard it is to ‘drive’ those Target carts through those narrow aisles.

*We met a mother of a five-month-old. We stood trying to decode the Target discount that made no sense and talked about the ‘mom uniform’ of leggings and a sweater.

*We talked with the woman who checked us out. She unfortunately has to work Thanksgiving evening and turn around to return to work Friday morning.

*We talked with a couple in the parking lot who loved Liliana’s hat and volunteered to take our cart back.

These people were of all races and ages. We didn’t target any of them to communication with. But, as our paths crossed, a welcoming conversation ensued. We have to start getting to know each other and realize how many commonalities we each have.

These conversations may have not been life changing, but it definitely made my shopping experience more enjoyable and we both left with a smile.

As you’re out and about these holidays, take time and say hello to the person next to you. Wish the people behind the register a happy holiday season. Help someone in need. One small gesture on your behalf could be a hidden blessing in the life of someone else.