Our busy world has forced us to shorten, abbreviate, and go all-things-disposable (paper plates, cups, diapers etc.) in an effort to save time. While this is quite understandable, there are some honorable values we must be careful to protect from the cultural erosion of virtues that deeply affect our own personal growth and development. I’m sure there are many more values we can list below, but I wanted to touch on the ones I deem most vital (or perhaps what I perceive as the most endangered) for both our current and upcoming young leaders.
1. GREET | A newborn is not expected to acknowledge someone who walks into the room but as busy toddlers, most children are perhaps the best models of running up to a guest at the door and (acknowledging) their presence. As the years go by however, and our children begin to grow and develop various interests, there must be a mindfulness we must be careful to deliberately instill in them that teaches them how to stop what they are working on, get up and greet or say hello to a guest. If this process goes unchecked and undeveloped, it is likely we will find ourselves with young leaders who turn people off and miss out on great opportunities because they are lacking such a simple (but very important) trait. We as parents should be diligently teaching our children (never) to start a text or email with what they want or need. And (never) to look at someone directly in the face and not speak or acknowledge them. Effective leaders acknowledge people who walk into the room (even if they are in the middle of something fun or important). When someone walks into a room, let’s train our children that (a good leader) is always the first to speak. Never make it optional to say: hello, good morning or how is it going to a person you are looking at, texting, calling or writing. This is a virtue!
2. THANK | It amazes me how many (adults) don’t bother expressing any gratitude for little or much that’s done on their behalf. We shouldn’t find this too surprising I guess—considering that Jesus himself healed 10 desperate lepers and only (ONE) returned to give Him thanks for making him whole. Where were the other nine? I can assure you that these nine were already ungrateful people in their day-to-day endeavors. They had never taken the time to cultivate the attribute of gratitude in their personal lives. “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks” (British Author: James Allen). Let’s not ever forget that the burden of (teaching) our children (all) that God expects them to know is solely ours. But we must ourselves be the kind of people who say thank you for the meal we just enjoyed, the gift card, the father’s day tie, the book (no matter how small or insignificant to us) and then and only then, can we properly pass this virtue along to those God has entrusted into our care.
3. NAME | Dale Carnegie: “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Is there value in using someone’s name in an email or text message? More than you will ever know! Most people in general will miss out on great opportunities in life simply because they fail to understand how important this area really is. We must continue to address people by their name. A birthday text for example that just says “happy birthday” has no life, and no punctuation is a birthday message better off not sent. How does this message really read? Impersonal, unimportant, I could care less. That’s how it reads and therefore it is better off not sent. Which of these two people would you rather give the job offer? (a) thanks for interviewing me. (b) Dear Mr. Cooper, thanks again for your time! It’s not just what you write in a text or email, it is HOW you say what you say that leaves a lasting impression of you with the person you are communicating with. Let’s relearn this virtue and teach it well to our children. Ask them how they would feel if they had a teacher who just referred to them as “you” all year long. Now use that response to build a valuable conversation on how to retain virtue in all our messaging.