I had a very refreshing conversation a few years ago at Dunkin Donuts with a very pretty young lady. We conversed about the tea party she was planning for that afternoon and the people she was going to invite. She called herself Cinderella and told me that I was Prince Charming. She also told me that she was inviting Snow White and few others to the party. I asked if all those dwarfs were coming. She said “just Dopey because he is too young for school.” Hmm… makes sense.
Are you wondering if I am losing my mind? You see, the charming young lady was my 4 year old granddaughter, Sophia (now 8). She and her little brother and her mom were visiting from out East for awhile. I have always enjoyed the opportunities to bond with her, especially at D and D’s. However, I found that in order to relate with her I had to study up about princes and princesses because these things were very important to her. I tried to pose a theological question, but she just continued to drink her chocolate milk and make faces at me. Can you believe that? Of course you can.
When you are trying to build a relationship with someone—anyone, you must become interested in what interests them. How do we expect people to listen to the gospel when we have not listened to them? Have you ever had the experience of having someone talk at you and not to you? So, you know how that feels. Proverbs 18:13 says “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” We want to engage people in conversation and an essential ingredient of that engagement is to listen to what interests them. If not, they may just drink their chocolate milk and make faces at us.
Back to Sophia… towards the end of our conversation we did get theological, but she brought it up— honestly! I had shared a little story about having a dog when I was young. She correctly assumed that the dog was dead by now and asked me whether I thought that dogs go to heaven. Like a good conversationalist I turned the question around and asked her whether she believed that. She said she did not know, but she believed that the little baby her mommy miscarried some years before was in heaven. Wow! I learned a lot that day from listening and talking to my little princess. It motivated me to do a better job with my neighbors.