We faced the whipping, and frigid, fresh air today in Middle Tennessee, my sister and I. We bundled up and walked a mile or so to the middle of her little town of Nolensville, for the Buttercup Festival. It’s an adorable town on any day, with its antique district and novelty shops. But add in vendors, food trucks, and arts and crafts, and it will draw hundreds of people, and tons of traffic.
We went into a couple of shops that I hadn’t been to. One was a toy store, and a sweet young man held the door open for us while his mom stood proudly by. Picture a large, old home with each room filled to the ceiling with toys. In the back of the store, in what was probably once a back porch, another young boy, maybe early teens, stood looking at some games, and he was eating mini-donuts. The smell carried through several of the rooms, so we started up a conversation. I told him he was making me hungry, and he carried on a pleasant conversation with me for several minutes, telling me where I could get them and how they were made. He gave me commentary on their flavor, and I thought, “What an adult-like conversation from a kid! It’s so refreshing!”
Even though I passed by the mini-donut truck when we left the store, it made me reflect again on the manners of the two young guys I had witnessed a few minutes before. These two guys have a head start on those kids who rarely open their mouths to hold a conversation with an adult. They’ll be more likely to find their kindreds, or at least to look for them. They’ll have a head start in the professional world when having to collaborate with others. They’ll be more likely to have candor, which can open up the doors to creativity. They’ll be more likely to be open to adventure.
Later, I met a little girl, the daughter of a local store owner, who was learning good business etiquette from her parents. She sang for me in the store, and then when I was getting ready to leave, she told me she was going to write down “the information” so I’d know what to do later. I can’t read the scribbles on the back of the business card, but she was so sincere in her efforts, that I’m sure I’m going to go back into that store again at some point.
DAY 176 HOMEWORK: We can learn a lot from these young’uns. Put others first, by simple gestures like opening a door for someone. When you are asked a question, be open to a conversation, not just a simple response. Feel free to tell more than you were asked, and tell things candidly. That candor may just clarify something for the listener that they didn’t even know they were looking for. And, be yourself; your adorable self. It will keep you memorable, and bring people back again and again.