A few days ago, I was sitting outside of a classroom at Baylor University. A girl who I know, though not very well, smiled at me as she walked passed. She looked as if she was going to say something, but I looked away. I had smiled back but still kept my headphones on and did not say a word. After she had turned the corner I yanked my headphones off and turned off my cellphone. I sat there and reflected for a few minutes.

I thought, “Nick, what is wrong with you?”

I’m sure anyone who is reading this is asking yourself:

Why was he so hard on himself?

Did he have a crush on this girl? 

What song was it?

This was a girl I had met once a few years ago. I did not have a crush on her. We were basically strangers.

So why was I so frustrated?

A few reasons that all relate to the topic of acknowledgment.

What does it mean to fully acknowledge another human being?

Relationships and communication are at the heart of humankind. Whether it be friendship, romantic relationships, or family, at the center of our connection with one another is acknowledgement.

To acknowledge another lets the individual know that:

1. They exist.

2. They matter.

3. They are loved.

We seem to think there is a time and a place to acknowledge others. We are so quick to put our headphones on as we walk from class to class and building to building. A few years ago I saw students doing this all the time. I was so perplexed by it. I would ask myself, “Why are they shutting themselves off from conversations?”

In my favorite book of all time Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury describes the use of seashells in ears. It always amazed me that he “foretold” the phenomena of headphones and how it would impact acknowledgement. Though at first against it, I started following the headphone trend. I thought maybe listening to some good music would help jump start my day. Maybe, a great pump up song would keep me motivated and happier. This little example has taught me that the best way to feel true joy is to form relationships with others.

When I have a test and I see a friend walking to class I’m too focused on myself to converse.

When I am stressed out I close myself off to the world around me.

When I am angry I do everything I can to avoid people.

Isn’t it funny that when we are filled with joy we seek to be around others not hide from them?

So, why was I so mad at myself a few days ago?

Because acknowledgment is at the core of Christianity. 

We must remember that acknowledgment does not relate to convenience. As Christians it is our duty and belief to love God and love others. In order to do this we must be always willing to stop what we are doing and listen to the needs, desires, and dreams of humankind.

Acknowledgment is the stepping stone for loving others.

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