"Cold" Calls

From Monday, January 25

Today we learned that it is different to go knocking on doors on a cold day. So far, our experience of doing door-to-door interviews has been very energizing and rewarding. Every time we go out in the neighborhood we have at least one amazing interview. I had begun to accept this as the norm. On a pleasant day, neighbors do not feel obligated to invite us in and they are also comfortable standing outside chatting with us. However, on a cold day, no one wants to stand outside.

This afternoon when Kristin and I went out to do interviews, it was cold and windy. We had called a few neighborhood churches to try to schedule interviews, but had to leave messages each time. So, we were making “cold” calls, literally! The first person we chatted to was dealing with the misfortune of car trouble and did not have time to talk today. She asked if she could call us at a more convenient time and come by our house to be interviewed. We said “sure” and continued on. The next person we spoke to was busy homeschooling her children and asked to complete the interview questionnaire independently. We told her we would stop back by in a week to follow up with her. Another person we went to interview was bundled up in a cozy robe and was embarrassed for us to see her home. She was just sitting down to eat. We asked if we might come back next week and she agreed. Thus, we now have a busy schedule set for next week - following up on all the contacts we made today.

We learned that cold weather interviews provide challenges other than the chill of walking from house to house. It was interesting that no one was comfortable inviting us in today, but they all were willing to set an appointment to meet with us at a future time. Scheduling a future interview time provides a third option - aside from standing outside in the cold or inviting two strangers in. I think this is a way in which we can respect our neighbors and allow them to participate on their own terms. This third option seems to be the best way to express hospitality to our neighbors.