When I was a young mother, my family and I were spending the night at my Granny and Pop's house for the weekend. It happened that my Aunt Marcella was in town and visiting also.
On Sunday morning - just as we had done 100 times before, we all got up and were getting ready to go to the service at Alvin Missionary Baptist Church. My granny was bustling around with her pokie curlers with pink toothpicks in her hair, putting on her lipstick and looking for the mate to her retro clip on earrings. As she was getting ready, she was saying how the ladies at the church never speak to her. After she had talked about the ladies and feeling excluded for a bit, something happened that I had never seen happen before.
My Aunt Marcella looked directly at my granny and said in a very clear, gentle voice "well mother, did you ever stop to think that you aren't talking to them either?"
I'll never forget that moment.
That one sentence has given me enough lessons to last a life time.
First of all, my aunt was speaking to my granny as an adult. A friend. Being completely honest. And respectful.
Isn't that what we want from the people in our lives? To be told honestly when we are lacking clarity.
Secondly (and the thing I say most to my kids) - be the person that starts the conversation. Extend a smile or kind word.
It goes a million miles and touches people deep down inside when genuine kindess is shown.
I tell that story often.
I imagine I will be telling it for the rest of my life.
Because my Aunt Marcella set the example.
She layed the path for me to speak first and from the heart.