I blogged earlier on the new book and concept Consequential Strangers. Today as our Circle entered the “building relationship” round, I asked a for a story about a ‘consequential stranger’. Our Circle was ready to share, the question before was about how people feel about the talking piece, speaking and listening one at a time. The answers we just heard demonstrated the importance of us speaking and listening in turn.
I was so touched by the stories that followed a brief synopsis of the ‘strangers’ talked about:
- the high school student that defended a new middle school student, on the day she needed it, and he moved away a few weeks later. She never learned his name, but the actions he took shaped her life.
- A kind person that helped a young student get off the subway (going the wrong way) and traveled briefly alongside the student giving clear directions so the student could make her appointment.
- A drug addict sat down next to a 17 year-old, in a crack house, and told her she didn’t belong there, to go back to her family. She gave the very day of the meeting in the crack house, and her family arrived to the very next day.
- The prison chaplin that helped a Mom return to her family.
- The person who stopped to help push a stuck car out of a driveway.
- The homeless man that had a conversation, sharing his life story and listening to another. He got a ride back to his bridge after the exchange.
The Circle started referring to the main characters of these stories and “nameless strangers”. After we all shared stories, the conversation continued, as people reflected on the acts of kindness they themselves may have done that could be talked about. The group teased about getting t-shirts made “Nameless Stranger”, and going out to do good acts. The energy and tone was very positive.
This was a Circle that meets two times a month, so we are already fairly connected, we are just coming back together after the holiday break. The Circle focusing on the kindness of strangers, was a real reminder of how part of a community all of us are.
I also appreciated that our values (the paper plates with relationship values written in marker), placed in the center of the Circle were reinforced automatically by our stories of consequential strangers.
Thank you for any kind act you’ve ever done for another! It doesn’t go unnoticed!