Sometimes the best part of speaking is when a cell phone goes off and I get to the person soon enough to answer the phone myself. With a clip on microphone I can put the earpiece up to the mic and the whole audience is privy to our conversation.
A while back, while speaking with 800 mostly good ol’ boy superintendents of schools, a phone went off about four rows in. I got to it in time! On the other end was this superintendent’s high school aged son who I introduced myself to and began to interview. I asked “What does this group of leaders of education need to hear from your perspective?” It started there and the candidness and spontaneity of his responses were remarkable. (Another example of he had more to teach than I.)
After about seven minutes, before the end of the conversation I asked him what he loved about his dad. (Now his dad is sitting there with 800 of his peers, never expecting me to answer his phone, let alone ask his son relevant questions about what we could do to be better school superintendents, let alone this final question.) Without hesitation he says, “I got the best dad in the world. He has helped me and encouraged me, put up with me. I know that he loves me and I love him!” “Thanks for talking”, I said and returned the phone to the man who now has a couple tears coming down.
Did I mention, this is a group of good ol’ boys? I asked him if his son had ever said that before. “No,” he said.
Why do we wait to let people know what they mean to us? What do you love about your friends and family? When’s the last time you’ve told them?
I have 3 adult sons. This year, on their birthdays, I wrote them letters telling them how much they mean to me and how proud I am of the ‘men they have become’. I fully believe we should tell friends/family today what is in our heart, because we may not have tomorrow. It is just easier to put it in writing. I do not know why, but it felt important to me to put it inwriting. My mother has been gone for 10 years and the items I have written in her handwriting seem to connect me to her.