I was hanging out with I. yesterday, outside on a day that felt more like springtime than October. She always gets me thinking with our conversations. She asks exceptional questions and consistently reflects on the world around her.
Yet on a day when I’d been thinking about a project I’m working on, about where actions meets words, I was most struck by the non-conversation end of our time together. Sitting outside of Potbelly’s, a homeless man approached us asking for money. My inclination lately has been to smile, to acknowledge, and to politely decline the invitation to give. But I. not only gave (with a dollar I might add, not the pennies at the bottom of her wallet), but used the man’s question as an invitation to chat. She spoke with him about local resources, she really HEARD what he was saying about his struggles with the shelter system, and she wished him well. It wasn’t for show. It was because one human being asked another for a little help.
How many calls for help do you (like I do) ignore? When do you let assumptions dictate your actions – and when should those assumptions potentially change?
(PS – if you are thinking about these questions or some variation, hope you’ll check out THIS OPPORTUNITY to create an innovative project on campus…)