I’ve begun to appreciate how something as small as a WAVE, can make a big difference in the world?  Here’s what happened:

Recently I saw my family which includes lots of lovable toddlers. Because we hadn’t seen them in quite a while we were reminded how quickly little ones change. We were treated to a kind of talent show: singing the ABC song, holding up two fingers when asked, “How old are you?”, and drinking from a grape juice box (exploding into the air.) After they left and the quiet settled in I organized and reflected on my new memories. My favorite: The wave, as in, “Wave to grandma. Wave hello. Wave bye-bye.” It was by far their most requested performance. They waved, and then we waved back.

Waving is something we all do. It tells a little about who WE are. In a nanosecond we send or receive a message of welcome or gratitude. It’s a subtle sign of acknowledgement. And – a wave actually tells others what we think of THEM.

There are so many kinds of messages we send with a wave. The homecoming queen waves from the parade convertible. Some wave with two hands, one is not enough! The victorious give salute with a wave from the winner’s circle. The grateful wave to say, thanks for letting me go ahead of you, and those who love us offer the long, extended goodbye-wave.

My sister is known for this wave. I love how she stands in her doorway or driveway waving goodbye to us. Even without looking we know that she is waving until we were no longer in sight. There’s something deeply comforting to me about this. I think we wait our whole life for big (and small) gestures that express appreciation; signs that remind us we matter, I love you, I’m not going anywhere.  

A wave says what words cannot. Before the 2 year old can even speak, he or she can wave, as if to say, “I see you” and just as important, “I want to be seen by you!” We wave when words are inadequate or impossible. Make no mistake, when we no longer see the wave, we can still feel it. Find these little opportunities to make people feel good.

So this is easy: from now on, every time you have a chance to give a little wave, remember what a big difference you can make in everyone’s life, especially the one you’re living NOW!