The Importance of a Greeting
Are Americans too busy to greet each other these days? What happened to genuine care for each other and our families? Has the notion of "time is money" stripped us of our inherent compassion for others?
Greetings are essential in many customs throughout the world. As International travelers, whether you're conscience of it or not, you're an ambassador of America. So when I heard my fellow Americans raise their voices in disapproval over President Obama bowing to the Japanese Prime Minister or the time when he greeted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Spanish, I was in disbelief!
Finally! I thought we have a President who is neither arrogant nor ignorant to the situation. President Obama did exactly what he was supposed to do, acting as both an ambassador to the United States, and as a responsible traveler.
Greeting a stranger with warm words gives instant respect. A simple greeting turns fear into friendliness, suspicion into trust. President Obama, as any American, would expect the same from others who visit us, on our own soil, and in our own traditions and customs.
Throughout Africa, greeting is an essential custom and there is not enough time in the day to greet people. It is considered extremely rude to not greet first before beginning any kind of conversation. Is there any reason we can't make time to greet others, while traveling or in our own neighborhoods?
When entering or leaving a room, greet the people in it. Say hello, ask how their day went. When purchasing food, goods, or merchandise, begin your conversation with the cashier by first asking how they are doing. And when initiating a conversation first ask how the person is doing, rather than jumping into the business part of the conversation, in doing so, you will calm, cool, and create a positive, constructive environment.
Are we too arrogant and fearful of portraying our self as 'soft' if we show a little compassion for our friends, neighbors, and strangers?
Take this cultural custom and make something as a simple greeting a part of your everyday life. Greet your neighbor, catch up with old friends and ask them how their families have been. You'll feel perkier and the community you live in, whether it's the neighborhood, country, or world, will be a much friendlier, accepting place.
The importance of a greeting can make a big difference for offering something so simple. Live it at home, pack it on your travels and shed your arrogance of feeling silly while bowing to the Japanese Prime Minister.