Monday, February 27, 2012

Shaking and Nodding...

This phenomenon is growing. You see it everywhere. In church, at an airport, in a restaurant, on a plane - it's all over the place! 
You've seen it, I'm sure. I don't really know anyone that doesn't do it. It's a habit that we've devolved and it made me think.
The Nodder...
This can be done up or down, depending on the age, culture or meaning of the bob. This is where a person nods their head at you as you walk by, catch their eye, etc.
The Shaker...
This one is more purposeful and is usually an expression or frustration or anger. This is where a person shakes their head side to side in disapproval of a person or situation.
Why do we do this?

Are we afraid to talk to people? Do we think that when we walk, we can't talk? 
Will our equilibrium go out of whack if a word comes out of our mouth while our feet are moving? 
Do we think that our voice will squeak as the first word comes out? 
Will the person be in such shock that heart failure ensues? 
Are we Concerned that they may actually start a conversation with us? 
Could it be that we are afraid of the response we may get, so nodding and shaking make it easier?    
First, on the shaking. I can't stand it. Call it a pet peeve or whatever you want, but it seems immature to sit there and shake your head in frustration as if to say, "No" repeatedly like a little child. I was getting on a plane recently and it was packed. I ended up with a middle front row seat (don't like the middle, but it's a trade off for the front row, leg room and a quick exit). The guy sitting in the aisle beside me shook his head at almost every passenger entering the plane and several times at me as I got my bag and myself settled.  He also shook his disapproving, grimace faced head, at the flight attendant numerous times too.  
You know what I did. I looked him right in the eye and said "You're a dork!" What do think that caused? Well, nothing, because I just thought that and didn't say it.  That would have made it worse than it was. Actually, I noticed his UK Wildcats visor (does UK have a middle aged golf team? Who wears visors?) and asked if he watched the basketball game on that previous Saturday (I was at that game and enjoyed the win - UK of course!). He said he did and we chatted for a few minutes without a single shake.
I realized that there's medicine for the shakes...focus on the positive instead of the frustrating parts of your life.  
Did I enjoy being crushed, run over, stepped on and jammed into a teeny plane seat? 
Absolutely hated it, but I didn't want to have the shakes, and telling someone else that they were bothering you, or you didn't like how they were doing something, would never help the situation. We need to just sit back, smile and talk about the best things, not the frustrating things. I don't want to here the bad stuff anyway - that'll only make my day bad too.
Nodders are not like this at all. Usually, a nod is an "hello," "a hey there," or just recognition that the both of you are human. This is fine, but conversation is even better. 
You know what conversation does? You might actually influence someone. 
Wouldn't that be cool? 
You get the privilege and opportunity to be a blessing to, or help someone or encourage them for the 30 seconds you see them. Now, I'm not saying you need to forcibly stop any person that you walk by to have a conversation with you - that would be a little weird and somewhat awkward. You would look like a stalker or a hobo trying to get some free cash. But if you're sitting right there, why not talk? You could make their day (if they punch you and yell at you, that's a sign to stop). 
Here's what to do. Have a plan. Think in advance what to talk to people about. Maybe the weather, or something in the room, or what you both are hearing, or notice something they are wearing - sports team, jewelry, etc.  When you strike up the talk, the conversation begins. Just let it flow from there are look for a way you can be an encouragement. Maybe you can pray for them (yes, even a stranger). Maybe you can share a life lesson from your past. Maybe a verse. Maybe just a smile. It will come to you, but you must start it.
Lessons Learned: Careful of the Shakes. Focus on the Nods. 
Thoughts: Do you have the Shakes or the Nods? Can you improve the Nods?

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