What One Elderly Couple Taught Me About Reaching Others

Elderly Couple

You’re in the business of evangelism.

Not the religious kind (although you might do that), but the political kind.

You evangelize to your friends, family and neighbors. You tell them how every individual should be free to worship their own religion (or not worship), own property without the fear of losing it, and live a life free of coercion.

But, sometimes it doesn’t go so well. Like when the family reunion turns into a yelling match between your dad and your mom’s brother.

Yeah, that was bad.

Or how about at college? Everybody thought a fight was going to break out in the middle of class between you and that liberal kid.

What if you could take a different approach to all the crazy bickering?

If I’ve learned anything in the past two months, it’s that a smile helps. Making a point to create a friendship with someone is also important.

And here’s a story from work to lay it out for you…

The Story of the Evangelizing Couple

I meet a lot of customers every day. It’s what my job entails. Selling shoes isn’t for the introverted of heart.

But last Monday, I met two customers that really made an impact on me. They opened my eyes to something, you could say.

Toward the end of the day, this one elderly couple came into the department. If I were to guess, they were probably in their late 60s (I’m bad as guessing people’s age).

They asked me a few questions about shoe prices at first. Rushing around wasn’t something they were interested in doing.

After a few minutes, they were ready to check out. Here’s where the fun started…

As they walked up to the cash register, the lady asked me how my name was pronounced (we wear name tags by the way). Before I could get it out, she attempted to say it, and guess what? She got it right.

I was impressed. Not many people pronounce my name correctly.

I checked them out. They thanked me, and were about to leave when the wife turned around to her husband and said, “oh, don’t forget to him one of those…”

The husband remembered and pulled out a little pamphlet out of his already packed shirt pocket.

It was a religious leaflet from the church they went to. The husband gently handed it to me, and the wife just looked at me, smiled, and said, “Everybody needs a church they can go to.”

I was a little surprised, but then quickly responded back that I already had a church that I call home. The wife asked which one, and the pastor’s name. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t lying to satisfy them.

After that, we talked for a few minutes before they left the store.

What Can We Learn From Them?

It was amusing that I got evangelized to, despite being a Christian myself. But, what really stuck me was how passive they were.

No preaching, no nudging, not even a mention of heaven, hell, or my soul. Just a smile, kind words, and an attitude of love.

They seemed to really care about where I was headed spiritually.

It got me thinking, this is how you and I should behave toward those of differing ideologies. Here’s what I mean…

  • When reaching out to your political opponents, use love and kindness
  • Truly care about their joys, sorrows, and wellbeing
  • Don’t be aggressive
  • Smile
  • Set aside time to get to know them

Kill Them With Kindness

See, you won’t win the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans by scolding, yelling, and being all around annoying person. (Click to Tweet)

You remember that old phrase, “Kill ‘em with kindness”? It used to annoy me whenever someone said it. Usually it was used in relation to bullying, and I don’t agree that being a pacifist is the best action to take against bullying, but I digress

Kill them with kindness. If you’re talking to a liberal, be friendly. Ask them questions, don’t focus solely on politics. If they mention a hobby, ask them about it. Find similarities between the two of you.

You Catch More Flies With Honey than You do With Vinegar

The elderly couple I met were living examples of this. They were nice, friendly, and understanding.

If you want to reach your friends, neighbors and community, you’ll have to follow the couple’s lead.

Be friendly. Be welcoming. Be understanding.

And, most importantly, be their friend.

Conclusion

“But liberals aren’t friendly, heck, they barely even know how to keep it civil.”

Yeah, well, conservatives and libertarians have their problems with keeping it civil too. But, the point is, we’re not going to win if we keep pushing people away.

We’ve got to learn how to craft our message to reach more Americans. That means, snobbery is off the table.

That also means you’ll have to make friends outside your immediate political affiliations.

Like I’ve said before, you can influence someone a lot more by being their friend.

Now, are you going to act on it? Or keep pushing people away when you could be evangelizing to them? It’s your choice.

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About John-Pierre Maeli

Keeping it simple and crystal clear, because anything else is useless. I'm here to not only inform you, but to also connect with you. That's what The Political Informer is all about. Feel free to follow me on either Twitter or Google+ Let's talk!

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