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Do you remember walking down the street and a total stranger would greet you as their brother or sister? Now, we hardly speak to each other. I look into the eyes of people as I approach to see if they would be receptive to me greeting them. Often times, people walk pass without looking in my direction. But there are times when I greet someone, and we strike up a conservation; that for a few moments this world does not feel so harsh.

I make a point to speak to the youth, especially the young black boys and young men, because I want them to know that I value them. There is a hard look in some of our children’s eyes. They have had to grow up too fast and they are already hardened by life.

Some of the reactions that I get from the young people that I say hello to is usually a surprised look on their face that an adult is speaking to them. Some look at me strangely and keep walking, other recover from the shock and say hello back.

The children that I speak to in my neighborhood had that same surprised look the first time I spoke to them. Now, they say hello or wave when they see me. Some of them still wait for me to speak first, but I see them watching me, waiting for the greeting.

It cost me nothing to say hello, but what I receive when someone says hello back is always uplifting.

I encourage all of us to use wisdom and discretion when we are out in the streets. These are strange times that we are living in, but fear cannot be the basis of how we live our lives. Make an effort to greet each other, especially the children when it is safe and appropriate to do so. By doing so, maybe we can learn to value each other.

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