I had a funny experience last week which I must share with all of you. As you all know I have recently moved into a new singles ward in Draper. As with all of my wards, everyone has been friendly and I anticipate being very happy there. To help make newbies like me more comfortable the ward has a nice tradition called the “New Member Dinner” (not the most original title but there you go). This dinner is held every other month or so and all of the new members get together and have a chance to meet the ward leadership including the bishop and relief society president. Such a dinner is a pleasant way of welcoming new people that I recommend for other wards- particularly if you have high turnover.
For the meal at this dinner we had a chili buffet with salad and yummy breadsticks. Naturally as we all got in line we started introducing ourselves and chatting- “Oh, you live in the Adagio.” “Me too”. “You are a teacher”, “You go to school”, “Where in California are you from?” etc. Amidst this banter a young girl asked me:
“So, where do you go to school?”- A question that always makes me feel good. I fail to mention to her that I graduated from BYU in 2002, which is probably when she was 12!
“I just finished my MBA in May” I reply without giving much thought.
Next thing I know in a loud voice she says:
“Wow! That is amazing! Very impressive!”. I meekly said a modest “thank you” and went about getting my chili.
As we were leaving the line, she says without a hint of irony:
“What’s an MBA?”
Now, I don’t know if they had been coached to be super excited about all of us and she was just trying to play along or if she’s just quick to emote, but I find it hilarious that she would be so enthusiastic about something she knows nothing about. For all she knows I competed my Mind Bending Accreditation, or my Muscle Building Association membership or Meth Busters Army training (I thought for some time on MBA associations- I have a list!).
The more I think about it, the more I wonder what life would be like if we all reacted like this girl to things we knew nothing about. For instance, what if a person said an unusual statement like “I play the balalaika every Friday night” and we immediately said “Wow! That’s amazing! Very impressive!” without even knowing what the instrument is, how it sounds, or how much work goes into that. (By the way, the balalaika is a string instrument played in Russia with one of the largest tonal ranges of its kind of instrument). Or what if someone stated something very ordinary such as “I will set the table” and in response we got “wow! That’s impressive!” Life would certainly be more interesting. It seems like the premise for a bad Bill Murray movie (I get the screenplay rights Hollywood!).
Perhaps we can learn a little from this girl and be a bit more excited about the life’s of others. After all if it is something they are bragging about it is probably worthy of praise (not that I was bragging about my MBA but I am proud of it). So, try it out this week. You just may make someone’s day, or everyone will think you have gone nuts. Either way it will keep life interesting!