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What Do You Love?

As I've gotten into adulthood (Seriously, when did that happen?), I've come to dread and loathe the question: “So, what do you do?” I'm a mom to one beautiful little girl. I'm a nanny to three other charming and wonderful children. I love both of those jobs. They take up 100% of my time and they are totally worthwhile. I am passionate about what I do.

But it's not that I don't like that question because I don't like my answer to it. I don't like that question because I don't think it is an accurate picture of a person.

I don't think what we do should be the thing or things that define us.

My favorite question to ask new acquaintances is: “What do you love?” People usually look at me funnily when I ask this question. They usually repeat the question back to me: “What do I love?” They clear their throats or sigh and stare into the distance for a few moments before answering. And they always give the most spectacular answers.

I haven't met someone who didn't have an answer to that question yet, because everyone loves something. Even if it's as simple as, “Well, I love my family.” And then I can ask more questions about what their family is like. How many siblings do they have? Do they live with anyone from their family? What sorts of things does their family enjoy doing together?

Sometimes I meet someone who has a million answers, which tells me they've probably thought about this before. “I love music and my dog and the rain and hilarious YouTube videos and my best friends Whitney, Amber, and Laurie and watching ice hockey and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and, and, and…..” (I do love all of these things, by the by.) And those people are so fun to talk to, because they have just handed you 10 ways to get to know them.

I am a firm believer that community comes from vulnerability. We build real relationships when we allow others to see the truest parts of ourselves. 

We grow and change when we connect with people on an intimate, heart-level.

Telling someone what you do is a surface-level question. It's public knowledge. Talking about what you love is deeper. Harder. More vulnerable. What you love tells more about you. It reveals parts of yourself that people don't get to see as you go to the grocery store or work out at the gym. What you love may be a secret that you hold close to your heart. Sharing that secret, telling someone what you love, draws a connection between the two of you. It makes you less “acquaintances” and more “new friends.”

My challenge to you is this: ask someone what they love. Listen intentionally. Ask follow-up questions and think about how what they love reflects who they are. Enjoy getting to know this person a little more deeply. And then share what you love! Share a little piece of your secret self and enjoy the new piece of relationship and community that comes from that.

I'm Madeline. I love folk music. I love talking about pregnancy and birth and children and psychology. I love teaching. I love to read. I love cuddling with my husband and laughing at our stupid inside jokes. I love the movies “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “A Knight’s Tale.” I love holding my baby while she sleeps. I really love Jesus. I love walking really slowly through museums and bookstores. 

I'm Madeline, and I would love to be your new friend. Tell me, what do you love? I would love to know.

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