I have several Northern friends (who I affectionately refer to as “my favorite Yankees”) that when they come to visit me in Texas always comment that even strangers are polite and overly courteous. With just a few words, mere strangers can melt your heart and bend your will into doing what they want. “Honey,” they will say, “I’m awful sorry, but would you let me go ahead of you in line. I just have a few items, and I am in such a hurry.” The imposing stranger would have the softest mannerisms and sweetest eyes, that something just tugs at your heartstrings and you would feel so bad saying no to them. “Um, Sure. No problem,” you hear yourself saying before you can stop yourself, completely bewildered about what just happened.
During Spring Break, Austin spent some time with his grandfather, Popsy. Austin and he ran some errands, and then he patiently sat in Popsy’s office reading some car magazines while he finished up some work. When they met up with me later, he recounted the day’s events. With a new found appreciation Austin explained how Popsy would meet people, shake their hands, and look them in the eyes.
“Mom, he would just immediately develop a relationship with them. It was like he was running for a political office. He was politic-in.”
“Politic-In?” I questioned him.
“You know, like he was a politician running for office.” Laughing Austin included, “But, he didn’t kiss any babies.”
Popsy overheard his explanation and saw a valuable opportunity to reinforce an important lesson about getting along and working with people. He explained to Austin that most importantly, it is having people want to work with you. Social graces and manners are needed and so important to promote yourself and open some previously shut doors.
Austin summed it up by adding, “Politic-in is working with people and getting the people to work with you.”
He then looked up at me with a honey-dripping smile and asked, “How do you learn how to politic then?” I informed him that some people have this gift naturally, some people have to practice and cultivate it, and sadly, some never grasp it.
“Well, if they don’t figure out how to politic, it must be hard to get things done.” Austin surmised.
Jamison is a natural at “politic-in.” My youngest son is easy-going, polite, and always seems to have things work out his way. He smiles a wide smile and will carry on a conversation with nearly everyone, especially if it is about his favorite subject, Legos. Since Austin’s sudden ‘politic-in’ realization he looks at the way Jamison gets things done with a new found respect.
Recently we had the opportunity to go to Brunch at the Victoria Country Club. Both of my children handled themselves very nicely. It was interesting to see them talk with people they ran into, smile, and introduce themselves. I noticed Austin was paying extra attention to what Jamison was doing and saying. After they finished talking with a woman, she kindly remarked about their “such nice manners.” Austin looked over to me with a smile as wide as the famous Chesshire cat, a twinkle in his bright blue eyes, and with a new bounce in his step, he went on his way.