I find it interesting how I react to my children when they are in public. Growing up going to school you learn social norms that help society move along its merry way. My kids are homeschooled and some of those norms are not infused into their daily behavior. Now before you scream they need socialization I want to ask you a question. When was the last time you were complimented by a total stranger, and they mean it?
My kids make it a habit of not only saying hello to most people they meet, or just walk by, they also try to give a compliment to the person they are talking to. The compliment might be about the clothes the person is wearing or the way their hair looks. People seem to be taken aback when this happens, but they soon recover since the comment was given by an innocent child who doesn’t have an alternative motive behind the use of flattery. My kids honestly want you to feel happy.
Initially I would be embarrassed that they would do this. People just don’t compliment others out of the blue, well except when it comes to children. What would happen if we were allowed to honestly give a compliment to a person we know, much less one that we have just met? In my job as a professor I would be worried that I would face harassment if I complimented a female student on her hair. For that matter I could see it happening with a male student as well with the same exact hair compliment. I would complain that we have lost a little bit as a society because of this. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how it could be perverted, and has been for a large number of years. I am just saddened that we have allowed the poison to kill what could be such an uplifting.
While I try to point out to my children what is socially good behavior, this little bastion of good will I will not dissuade. It reminds me of what could be, and maybe will be with the help of more innocence and good will.