A new occasional feature of this blog will be lessons learned from my father. Part 1: Treat everyone with Respect. Two of my favorite memories were my Dad’s friendship with a factory worker and a custodian. My Dad managed a sales office and warehouse, so his outreach was all on his own. The factory worker – Pete – was a regular guest at our Sunday morning breakfast table. Although I don’t remember much about the adult conversation, the glint in his eye and ever present smile told me this is a special person. Sure, the occasional toy he brought would win over any kid, but it was much more. And I realized here was a man, and a friendship, that meant a lot to my folks. Joe Sacco was a warehouse custodian. My Dad would learn phrases of Italian from him just so he could converse in his native language. My Dad encouraged him, first to open up a restaurant, and then when the opportunity opened to move back to Italy, to go. Ironically (or maybe not?) we took a trip to Israel and Rome. My Dad wrote to Joe, and he picked all of us up at our hotel and drove to his home in the hills near the Pope’s summer home. And we had the most unbelievable, 7-course meal I have ever had.
So what? In today’s techno-society, the art of befriending people like Joe and Pete are rarer. We’re so involved in texting, phoning, blackberrys and the like, that we don’t take the time to meet others and learn about their talent, their love, their passion. It starts with treating others with respect, showing interest and opening yourself up. You never know how or when it will payoff, but the act of becoming friends with others who are different is something we should all strive to do for creativity’s sake, for humanity’s sake, and for goodness sake! I guarantee you more often than not, these will be people, and moments, that you will never forget.
About this BlogThis is Howard's ongoing exploration of ways to increase and expand lifelong learning.