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people are love and respecting (now).
Join the movement.
So let’s consider Mrs. McGillicutty. She’s sitting at table #14 sipping her water as all her grandchildren (whom she sees once a year) hit the dance floor.
Problem: Her grandchildren (who don’t even know all the moves to the Macarena) are missing out on an untapped treasure trove of wisdom.
I would consider this a problem.
You know how in 99.48% of my posts I encourage people to seek older wise counsel? Well, summer weddings are a prime spot to start getting around.
Not like that.
Usually when I talk about seeking wise counsel, I am envisioning pastors, parents, mentoresque people. But at weddings, you can find straight-up geriatrics. Those people generally ooze life wisdom and good stories.
At my friend Luke’s wedding, he asked his grandmother to simply get up on stage and speak any wise thoughts she had on marriage. She shared how she had eight small children when she lost her first husband.
Hold the phone. Eight?!!?
She shared her heart and life philosophies. I think she must have been in her late 80s, and she embodied wisdom. Later I found her at the edge of the dance floor and just asked to hold her hand for a moment. I felt like I was near something sacred.
At my friend Andy’s wedding last year, one elderly man I talked to was a World War II veteran. I have an odd intrigue* with that war, and as I started to ask him questions, he told me he had written a book. He was the history channel in 3-D! He told me fascinating stories of his ship being hit with a missile and the pain of losing friends.
Asking people questions will always give us a deeper insight to the human soul. But sometimes, it’s not as much about what we “get” from others, but what we give by listening. I get so sad when I think of all the elderly people who sit alone all day. They are full of stories that need to be told. Sometimes by listening we are simply giving someone the gift of being heard.
At the heart of this series is my conviction that we need to recognize humanity’s hunger to be known. A fortunate byproduct is that we then know.
We know Mrs. McGillicutty.
We know a widow’s grasp on loss and life.
We know what honor looks like as we hear a history lesson firsthand.
We know the person we are dating. And why.
We begin to know ourselves.
For me, asking questions, listening, and responding with genuine interest and intrigue has been hugely eye-opening. It’s enhanced my understanding of human nature, given answers, deepened friendships, and truly increased my love for people.
I’ve decided that when it comes to #askjoy advice from here on out, whenever I get the question, “I just don’t know about her” or “I just don’t know about him,” my first question will be, “What do you know about him or her?”
How do you engage people in conversation?
What questions do you remember being asked recently?
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.