When we were leaving Jamba Juice yesterday Esther walked out right ahead of me as she always does because she pushes open the door and then stands behind it holding it so I can push Astrid out in the stroller. I don’t have to ask her to do this. It’s a reflex. When you have a younger sibling who is often in stroller you learn the dance of getting in and out of places and that door holding is one of your jobs. You also know the significance of this job because when other people hold the door for you, you thank them profusely. My kids automatically thank anyone who holds the doors for them (without me asking them to) and almost every time that stranger holding the door looks right at me and says ‘your kids are super polite..thank you for that.’
So yesterday Esther is going out the door and I am walking after her. She opens the door and then a 10ish year old boy budges in front of me and out the door the Esther holds. His father watches him do this and sees me coming up behind and I stop and tell the dad to go ahead of me so he’s not separated from his son. Esther is standing there still holding the door. The dad looks at my daughter and back to me and I smile and tell him to go. He doesn’t and waves me ahead. So I walk through the door and kiss the top of Esther’s head as I walk by and thank her for the door hold. I keep walking and Esther keeps the door open for the dad. He tells her to go ahead. She says no, that she’s got the door for him. He walks through and tells her ‘thank you’ and then ‘that’s the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time..I don’t get the door held very often’ and Esther says ‘it’s a simple thing and everyone smiles when you do it.’
Which is true. Has anyone ever frowned at a door holder?
Sometimes I think my kids would stand there for hours holding the door open for people. Because it’s a joyful job. I worry at times. Am I teaching my kids to be a doormat because I’m constantly telling them to wait their turn, to let others go first, to not be first in line ever, to give up your last cookie to someone who needs it more. But maybe instead of a doormat I’m just teaching them to be a doorman.
Anyway, trust me on this. Hold lots of doors tomorrow. Go out of your way to hold doors. Hold doors all ding-dong day. It’s life-changing. A simple gesture of looking outside yourself.