It’s How You Say Hello…

The other day I took my kids to the gym with me. When I went to pick them up from the play area after I’d finished working out, I passed the window to the room that they were in.

My daughter saw me through the glass and jumped up and waved.

And when I opened the door, she was standing at the front desk, smiling. “Mommy!” she said, hugging me tight.

I’d only been “gone” for an hour, but by the way she acted, you’d guess it had been a week.

This sweet greeting from my third-grader seriously melted my heart. And it made me think…

How do I say hello to her?

I thought about the morning before, when I woke her up with a quick kiss on the forehead, then launched into a very rushed, “Don’t take too long getting ready because it’s our day to carpool. And you need to clean your room before we leave. It looks like a tornado came through here.”

I thought about when I’d picked my kids up from school that day, too. We’d walked through the park, passing others who were playing on the swings and buying ice-cream from the ice-cream truck. I shuffled my kids along, reminding them to hurry because we had to get to basketball. I barely registered their disappointed faces when I told them we didn’t have time for ice-cream.

And now I’m thinking I need to be more aware of this greeting thing.

Because I want to make sure when I say hi to my kids, or to my husband, or to anyone, I’m doing it in a way that really acknowledges them. And I want to give the kind of greeting that focuses on that moment, not all of the things on the schedule ahead.

I truly appreciated how my daughter made me feel that day at the gym. And I appreciated the reminder to slow down and take the time to make my kids feel special.

Because I want them to know how much I love them.

With every single hello.


  1. we Genny I can totally agree, so did you ever figure out how to say hello? You got me on edge here.

  2. Such a beautiful post and such a wonderful reminder! I want to be more intentional about my greetings too…P.S. I’m a Kirtsy Editor and I just “picked” this story so it’s now on the main page. Stephanie

  3. Precious reminder. I also am guilty too often of “reminders” rather than greetings. May I be reminded to more often say hello like that is the most important thing in that moment.

  4. Oh girl…you just stepped all over my toes! :-) But in a good way. I needed this. You are fabulous. You should I write, God’s love shines fabulously through you!I’m going to send this link to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. Maybe she’ll feature you one Saturday. She should!

  5. Great post! Something to really think about…I try to give my daughter my whole self when I am playing with her, but find my mind wandering to business…

  6. Great reminder – seriously. It’s those little moments that make all the difference. Kids get that. Adults rarely do (myself included.)

  7. What a fabulous thing to focus on, the way we greet people. And if we focus on that, it just seems logical that the rest of the encounter will go more smoothly, too.What great words of wisdom!

  8. I have thought about this when I meet a new elementary or preschool teacher, I watch how they greet my kids and the other kids, but it is such a good reminder on a personal level.My kids are similar, their faces light up and they are so enthusiastic when they see me coming. they give so freely… I now I don’t always reciprocate.Thanks for the beautiful post!

  9. I loved your thoughts here. It reminds me of a story Larry Crabb tells about Brennan Manning. The short of it is, they were at a conference together and saw each other across a crowded room. Brennan jumped up and down at the sight of his friend, just as a child excitedly jumps up and down. Larry commented on the way it made him feel, and how he chose from that day on to show that sort of enthusiasm to greet others as well.

  10. Thank you so much for the reminder. I rushed this morning getting the kids ready and I can’t remember if I even told them have a great day!

  11. as usual a beautiful post. I find myself doing the same thing we have such busy schedules and sometimes need to slow down and live in the moment! Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Oh I totally needed this reminder. I love it when i get that “MOMMY” greeting, but I certainly don’t give it very often. I wonder how my kids would feel if when they walked in a room, I was always super thrilled to see them, and showed it?

  13. I get the same hello’s from my little ones and I am guilty of doing the same thing. I will definitely make it a point to say hello in a way that will really appreciate them. Thanks so much for the reminder and for your comments.

  14. Wow. I think I need to print this out and hang it somewhere prominent.Thank you.

  15. Thanks, Genny, for your kind comments on my blog. I’m glad you commented so that I could find *your* blog. I needed the reminder about those hellos today. I’m terribly guilty about waking the kids with, “Okay, everybody up! Time to check your chore charts!” Not much of a way to welcome a new day together.

  16. So a great post :) I tend to overlook my greetings for hubby all the time since I’m usually busy with the toddler. Thank you for the reminder.

  17. You’re so right. I do the very same thing with my kids. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and say “hello”!

  18. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier today, I’m so happy you stopped by, so that I could discover yours! This was a very thought provoking post. Thank you for reminding me to savor those precious moments with my loved ones.

  19. I think about this a lot. I know I’m failing in this area sometimes and hope I can get with it before they get any older!!

  20. Oh, I totally get this! I have been feeling the same way but with my husband in particular. Often he comes in and I am on the computer and mumble a “hey.” Can you imagine how welcome he must feel? yeah, right. I really have been convicted lately to make more of an effort to greet him with a kiss and a happy hello that says, ” I am so happy to see you!”Thanks for the reminder!

  21. Thanks for the reminder! I try to make mornings good for my baby even though I’ve always hated them myself – I suspect how she wakes up determines how the rest of the day is going to go.

  22. Great post My girl is in third grade also and my son in jr high. It is easy to over focus on the to do list and miss the moment. Great reminder

  23. i loved this post. for me it’s also kissing and hugging them everyday. i’m with ya on the hustle of things.this did remind me of my in-laws though. they do that with my kids whenever they come thru the door…such a joyful, exciting and loving “hello”. it’s priceless.

  24. Found your awesome blog through Rocks in my dryer today and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. What a thought-provoking way to think about our greetings and I loved how you phrased it because if we become aware of how someone’s heartfelt and attentive greeting makes us feel, then we can become aware of making others feel that exact same way. You have awakened my sensitivity to both my hubby and daughter. Glad I stopped by!

  25. A great reminder! I’m going to purpose to be better at my “hellos”. I really could use some improvement in this department.

  26. Thank you for this gentle reminder to be more conscious of how we great one another, especially our family. This is my first time over here. I’ll be back.Have a blessed weekend.

  27. I used to come running (literally) when my husband got home from work. I would greet him with a smile and a hug and a kiss. Now we work together and don’t “need” to have that greeting like before – but it is easy to forget that just because you are so casual with one another that being excited to see them is thrilling to the one receiving the greeting.We also used to have a “kissing step” that I would stand on in the morning before he left for work. Have a great day! Kristin(thanks Shannon for another great blog link)

  28. For my daughter’s first year I was always conscious of walking into the nursery with a smile on my face no matter what time of the day. I’m sad to say that I wasn’t as consistent with my second child. Thanks for the reminder!

  29. A friend posted a link to this post (Karen @ Cheerful Thoughts). Thank you for the reminder – what a lovely post.

  30. I can’t remember how I found your blog but I’m glad I did. I just love this post.

  31. What a beautiful post! Just came across your blog via Scribbit’s. Thanks for a touching reminder.

  32. I love to greet each morning with a prayer…my way of gretting the Lord and thanking Him for a new day.God bless-Amanda

  33. Genny,I have been thinking about this very thing myself. I have consciously be aware of how I talk to my children; you know how stress and life can alter our communication. I try to smile when I'm talking to them; at least they perceive a good mood that way…even if inside I'm seething from some other issue.Thanks for the reminder.Kellie

  34. Pingback: Your favorite mom stories (and a free parenting newsletter too) :: Genny Heikka

  35. Pingback: Checking in with a quick note… :: Genny Heikka

Comments are closed.