I love people watching!
Today I enjoyed a sandwich at the PDX food court. I watched airplanes out the window... a little. Mostly I watched people. I was most intrigued by the two families sitting near me. We'll call them Family A and Family B.
Mommy A enjoyed lunch with Big Brother A (age 6?), Little Brother A (age 4?), and Baby Sister A (baby!). I was impressed as she guarded their cart of various bags, car seats and a stroller. She munched on her healthy sandwich. She frequently interacted with the A Kids. She grabbed their Kids Meal bags and pointed to interesting words. You could see the gears of their brains turning as they sought to answer her intriguing questions. The A Family smiled together, interacted often, and seemed happy to be where they were... together.
Across the aisle, Mommy B appeared to be playing a game on her cell phone. (She was too slow to be texting... and not using her thumbs!!!) Big Sister B (age 10?) happily traced cursive letters into a workbook. I could tell that she was the kind of girl that made teachers like my husband happy.... the kind that loved doing their work, and wanted to do the best they could. Little Brother B (age 8?) had eyes focused on his Gameboy (or whatever they are called these days!) Mommy B, Sister B, and Brother B rarely smiled, did not interact with each other, and seemed like they would rather be somewhere else, yet they were making the most of their waiting time.
After awhile, Daddy A appeared and took his seat. Parents A had been "tag teaming" so they could each have their own Food Court selection. As he sat down, Brothers A greeted Daddy A. "Look at this Dad!" was among the comments. Before long, though, Daddy A was leaning back in his chair. Not distancing himself from the table, but distancing himself from the interaction. He happily interacted when Baby A cooed a "Daddy." He was not unwilling to interact, but perhaps preferred not to initiate it.
A few minutes later, Daddy B appeared. His self-focused and quiet Family B became a buzz of energy. Brother B put away his game, stood up and chattered as he looked at the plane out the window. Sister B showed Daddy B her work and challenged him to practice his own cursive on her pad. Mommy B smiled and interacted with everyone.... in between game turns. She even practiced her cursive when Daddy B was struggling. Before long, Daddy B, Sister B and Brother B went for a walk around the airport. Mommy B kept on with her game. (I am sure she was designated to watch their things, or perhaps she was just on a winning streak!)
Two different families. Two different sets of interactions.
Both families have a story behind what I saw. And I am not writing this to judge any of them.
What struck me was this: How do I interact with people?
Do I make eye contact and initiate conversation?
Am I happy to respond when others initiate interaction with me?
When I come into a group of people, what kind of energy do I bring with me?
Again, every person has his/her own story. Every day has its own story. There are moments I can't be pulled away from interacting. There are others moments I just want one minute to not interact. With everything, I think balance is important.
So, I will keep watching people interact.
I will keep pondering how I interact.
Will you ponder with me?