As a child spending summers with family in a small town in South Carolina, I can remember riding in my grandfather's old pick-up truck as he would wave at every neighbor and every car that we passed, whether he knew them or not. My brother and I would often join in, and although most people would wave back, we could never understand why some people didn't. It was a feeling of true "southern hospitality" when you could wave at a complete stranger and they would acknowledge you in the same way. However, this was something that hadn't quite caught on in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD where we lived at the time. I can remember driving around the neighborhoods of our northern suburban existence, waving at people just to see if they would wave back, only to have them completely ignore me or look at me like I had offended them in some way. These are experiences that have always stuck with me, as I could never figure out why in some places it was seemingly OK to do something as simple as wave at someone, and in others, it was not.

Several years later, I would find myself living in a suburban area outside of Richmond, VA, and I began to wonder if the "southern hospitality" I had known as a child was still alive and well. I had recently begun running for recreation and exercise, and decided that I would conduct an "experiment" while I was out for my daily run. Inspired by my childhood experiences in a small southern town, I began to wave at every person I passed, just to see if they would return the acknowledgement. To my surprise, many people would wave back, although some days it seemed that just as many people would look the other way or pretend like they couldn't even see me. I found that being able to step outside of your own personal existence long enough to acknowledge the presence of another person, simply by just waving at them, could be a very freeing and uplifting experience for both people. After realizing this, it was extremely disappointing to me whenever some one would not return the gesture, often prompting the thought in my mind... "It's OK to Wave!" This led to the idea that I could create a t-shirt with this message printed on it and wear when I was out for a run, in an effort to encourage others to realize that it was OK to acknowledge another human being that was attempting to do the same, with a simple gesture of kindness... Then, the idea was born...

I soon realized that what I was experiencing in my daily efforts of essentially attempting to create a movement of simple human kindness and awareness of others, was also being experienced by people all over the world in their daily lives. What would happen if people could see that a simple kind gesture like a wave, a smile, a kind word, even a glance might ultimately be an act that could so positively affect another person's existence even for a moment, as well as their own, that if on a grand enough scale, as being practiced by the majority, it could change the world?!.. Or, at the very least, I'm sure that we could all benefit from a little more kindness from others in our daily lives. 

Through my own experiences, I have come to understand that in an effort of global realization that we are all ultimately ONE people, and that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed together, not only is it OK to Wave, 

It's OK to...


Copyright, 2010-2020 Crawford G. Smith