This morning I didn't have any meetings and Kersti invited me to join her and 13-month-old Violet on a stroll to our local Peet's coffee. I mean, it was 50% off day, my college age son, Weston, wanted to tag in, too, so what's not to love about this outing right?
On our 1 mile walk to Peet's, Violet reminded us of the lessons she usually teaches us when we spend time with her: smell the flowers, move your body with unabandoned joy, and don't be afraid to speak up. ;) When we got to Peet's she decided to teach us some more. She walked throughout the shop and the patio with her usual swagger and charm, overarching curiosity, and eager anticipation and acceptance for all.
Have you ever noticed how babies bring people together? We can pretty much all come together in unity around the common ground of innocent, adorable babies and small children. People greet you differently when you have a baby in your arms. People speak to you more. You speak to them more. Children are a kind of bridge, actually, to new opportunities and connections. I followed Violet around this morning as she approached everyone she saw with interest, assumed commonality, and a ready wave.
Peet's was full of diversity this morning. Violet loved the French women who she couldn't understand. She loved the group of beautiful, 20-something, Asian professionals who all greeted her back and picked her up when she got overly excited and tumbled over. She loved the young woman in work out gear who pleasantly stepped around her. She loved the young man in dark glasses who glanced up from his book long enough to smile and return her, "Hi." She loved the two white-haired grandmothers who told her about their grandchildren. She loved the hats, the turbans, the glasses, the color, the piercings, the hair and lack of hair. Mostly, she loved the old Italian gentleman who opened the door for her (repeatedly) and deferred his own purchase in order to engage with her. She loved them all... openly, equally, with no predisposition that we could see and not seeming overly invested in their response. And you know what? They loved her.
One of the white haired grandmothers said it best when she looked at me and said, "This is the answer to world peace right here." And I thought, "Yep. That's absolutely right." She opened doors of commonality, conversation, and community between me and everyone she greeted. She made it so easy to slow down and see the people, greet them all as friends, and assume that they would appreciate the greeting. And a little child shall lead them.