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My daughter Namine is certainly no stranger to staring, but as she has gotten older she has become more attentive to when it happens.

We had to go to the grocery store the other day. As Namine and I waited for Jessica, we noticed two children staring at us (in all likelihood, more so at Namine than at me). One was probably too young to know better, but the other one definitely was not.

Namine raised her hand to say hello, but the children were dragged off by a person I assume was their mother before she had a chance.

Namine turned to look up at me. “Daddy, I don’t like it when people stare at me.”

“I know exactly what you mean, sweetie,” I replied. “But remember not everybody stares out of rudeness. Sometimes they just want to say ‘hi,’ and they don’t know how.”

I thought about how much it bothered me — and it still does, some days — when I’d catch people staring. But I have to remember my own advice, too.

I gathered my thoughts and continued, “The best way to respond to someone staring is to say hello. If they’re staring out of rudeness, then they’ll get embarrassed and leave. But if they’re staring because they don’t know how to say hi, then you’ll be showing them it’s okay.”

“Okay, Daddy,” she said. “I’ll say hi and show them how to be friends.”


A version of this post originally appeared on

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