Importance of Human Connection
"They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel."
- CARL W. BUEHNER
I was visiting with a dear friend of mine and her extended family a few weeks ago. We have known each other for about 17 years and I value our friendship and encounters very much. She has some adorable nieces and nephews who come in and out of our time together and over the years, I have gotten to know them too. Many times I met the young ones before they were walking and then some time would go by and they would forget about me of course.
Anyone who knows me would say I am “good with children.” They joke and say things like “wow, you have a lot of patience,” or “don’t they annoy you?” I find that speaking to children is one of the most fascinating things. If you talk to a child like you would an adult, you can find out so many interesting ways they view the world and feel. I always ask children questions, give them choices, and learn so much about life and myself. They are my teachers and I approach them this way. The children remember things we have lost touch with. How to be silly, how to have all their feelings really quickly and intensely and get over them just as fast, how to love with all you got, just to name a few.
This visit, I sat down with the most shy niece who is about 5 years old. The other cuties were yelling and dancing around but this one was sitting quietly, smiling, and taking it all in. I asked her how she was doing and told her that I missed seeing her. She looked up at me and the first thing she said was “I don’t remember your name, but I remember I love you.” I chuckled, hugged her, and asked her how she knew that. She said “you just know these things.”
This is one of the sweetest moments I have had with a person young or old. It is also my goal in life. What this young child said has been said for many years, by many people and phrased many ways. The first time we heard this as a quote, it was said by Carl Buehner of the Church of Latter Day Saints “They may forget what you said -- but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou is often credited with this statement as well. The point being, our energy and intention are important in our connections with others. Your words do not have to be perfect. From where I see things, you may not even have to speak.
How can we influence people every day with this in mind? Hold the door open for someone. Smile at a stranger. Offer a quarter to someone filling their meter looking distressed. Ask someone if they need help carrying groceries. Authentically compliment a stranger. Hold space without feeling pressure to do anything for a friend in need.
Human connection is an important part of our daily lives. It can be easy to forget that we are all in this together when you live in this world. The truth is, we are biologically predetermined to desire community. When we lack this human being connection, we become cold and distant and struggle. Community is what will save us all. Let’s work together. Let’s remember kindness when we are with each other. Let’s leave a residue of love wherever we go. Leave a comment and let me know how you are carrying love into your daily encounters.