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Shaking hands forward

Recently my friend answers her door and some of her adult relatives are standing there.  They have a 2 1/2-year-old little boy.  He sticks out his hand to shake hands and says hello.  Instantly, my friend turns to butter.   Everyone is just drawn to this little person because he has been taught to shake hands and be friendly.  He is learning social graces and good manners.

When we peruse Pike Place Market in Seattle, we always find something interesting or delicious looking and just have to buy. We make our choice, pay our money, then we reach across their wares and shake their hand.  We thank them for the product and fine service.

Susan Powter relayed a story this week, where she had seen the same four men shake hands and smile and offer up friendly pats on the back each morning.  Then one day, one of the men ( a monk who had just taken his final vows) said I can no longer shake hands.  Susan steps in and says, how sad (in her own colorful way).  How awful that the loving and kind gesture of shaking another’s hand and offering up a friendly greeting is squelched by some “rule” in an organized religion?  Shame on you.

When I went to the hospital earlier this week to pick up a prescription, when the transaction was finished, I put my hand out to say thank you.  It was a friendly hand shake to let the person know it was a pleasure to do business with them and I appreciated it.

When our boys were young, they were taught early to shake hands and look the person in the eye and say how do you do.  We told them the adult would take it from there.  Both boys turned into well mannered business men who offer up a hearty and warm hand shake.

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to meet one of our son’s new business partners.  He shook hands, looked us in the eye and said it was a pleasure to meet us.  Made the initial meeting go very well.  We instantly liked him.

In this day and age, think about all the people you come in contact with on a daily basis.  I shake hands with the UPS man, the florist who is making a delivery, the baker at a favorite bakery shop (I always thank them for getting up so early to bake treats for me) and on and on it goes.

I remember substitute teaching while living in Oklahoma.  I would stand by the door each morning, introduce myself and shake hands.  Yep, with first and second graders.  At the end of the day, I told them I enjoyed the day and told them to go out and make it a good rest of the day and of course shook hands.  I set the tone before we even started.

I like making a personal connection with people, kids, teenagers, shop keepers, you name it.  It makes my experience better and we both benefit.  When you hear of people “paying it forward” by paying for the next person’s coffee or pastry………….just think about the hand shake in the same fashion.  You shake hands, leave the person in good spirits and they are then ready to take on the next patron with a cheerful attitude.  We could be on to something?

I love the story of the 2 1/2-year-old friendly and well-mannered little person.  His initial behavior sets the tone with how everyone will treat him.  I am making an educated guess here and say, he will go far.

Any chance we can all make an extra effort to treating our fellow-man with kindness and respect?  It might just go a long way in soothing our aching hearts and minds in this rough day and age.   Just a thought.

“Strive for peace with all.”  Hebrews 12:14

ps.  not interested in the “germ factor” here.  Use sanitizer if it is an issue.  Kindness trumps germs any day.

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