Greetings and Salutations

When I come home from work my kids always greet me in the most bombastic manner.  Their excitement is amazing!  There is no mistaking that they enjoy my homecomings.  Sometimes, if I’m out of the room very long, I get an abbreviated version of this greeting.  It’s this emotion that gives me Daddytude!

My Dad tells a story from when I was about two or three years old.  I was in the backyard playing through the fence with a neighbor boy.  My Dad popped out the back door just to say hi, but he didn’t expect my reaction.  I threw down my toy and simultaneously exclaimed: “I gotta go, my Daddy’s home!!”  He still gets a thrill telling this story – even 50 years later.

I gotta go, my Daddy’s home!!

As a kid, I was shy, withdrawn, and scared. I adopted the theory that it is better to be thought a fool, then to open my mouth and remove all doubt.  I learned to watch others, to learn, to stay out of the way.  My primary goal in life was to avoid being teased and ridiculed.  By crawling into the corners, I sought to become invisible.

However, as I watched others, I was always impressed by the guy who walks into the room and gives a hearty shout-out to everyone.  That person is usually well liked and is not easily intimidated by the attention.  Though I’ve successfully imitated that approach a few times, it doesn’t come natural and just doesn’t fit right.  It’s like playing a role – it’s just not me.

What I’ve developed over time is a more subdued and casual approach to greetings.  I’m not overtly smiley – especially just to be smiley, and I’m not very sanguine upon first greetings.  Some of this is leftover from avoiding foolish behavior, some of it is my general introverted nature, and some of it is just a fear of rejection.  I just lay low most of the time.

I want to be like Mike.”

Several years ago I worked with a guy named Mike Wrench.  Mike reminded me a lot of my maternal grandfather.  He was friendly, happy, and loved being around people.  Every morning when he came into work, he made it a point to greet everyone personally – with a smile and a handshake.  It was very warm and genuine.  It didn’t take long for Mike to endear himself to others.  I’m pretty sure the man had no enemies.

I want to be like Mike. In fact, I will often greet others in this sort of quiet, but unassuming way.  It isn’t the way the cool kids would do it, but it is warm and probably more genuine.  The cool kids are often well liked by many, quite popular, and everyone wants to spend time with them.  People like Mike Wrench may not draw people to them, but when they do make friends, it is often more personable and lasting.

There have been some who have criticized me for being cold, indifferent, and arrogant.  I’ve always been puzzled by these generalizations.  Even though I may come across like this, it certainly doesn’t reflect my true heart.  In fact, I have a deep caring empathy for others, and far from arrogant, I don’t see myself better than others.  More likely I’m just afraid of others.

The reading in yesterday’s Love Dare was about impressions and greetings.  While I didn’t underline as much in this reading, as I often do, there was an overarching gestalt that spoke to my soul.

Communication has many components, what we send isn’t always what others receive.”

Communication has many components, what we send isn’t always what others receive.  Like throwing a Frisbee, I have to compensate for wind and other factors in order for it to reach its intended target.  If I’m going to release impressions and communication (verbal and non-verbal) into the wild, I’m going to have to compensate for environmental, social, emotional, and behavioral anomalies.

What I send, isn’t always what is received. I have to be more conscious of the receiver and less conscious of the sender (me).  Most of us, myself included, are so wrapped up in our own emotional stressors, self-doubts, and insecurities, that we often fail to consider the reactions of others.  As we grow in strength and health, we can better hone our relational and communication skills to better meet the needs of others.

Primary in my list of people to better communicate with is my Wonderful Wife.  I want her to not only be important, but to feel important.  I like that she’s beautiful, but I want her to feel beautiful.  I want her to know she is treasured and honored by me.  How I communicate with her is going to send a strong message.

What difference would it make in your spouse’s day if everything about you expressed the fact that you were really, really glad to see them?”

When I first got my dog Theo in the late 80s he was about three years old. He had lived with another family his whole life and he was a bit depressed the first few weeks I had him.  Then one day I came home from work and he almost turned inside out.  He jumped and twirled, and snorted, and rolled on his back, and leaped in joy.  He made me feel like a million bucks!

My childhood dog was the same way.  Everyday he’d wait for me at the end of the driveway and was oh-so excited to see me when I got home.  I have to tell you though, getting that reaction from my kids is far better.  What if I acted that way when I first greeted my Wonderful Wife?  How would this change her feelings about herself – and about our marriage?

Adding warmth and enthusiasm give you the change to touch your mate’s heart in subtle, unspoken ways.”

I am committed to change the way I greet people – especially my wife. I don’t want to be someone I’m not.  I’ don’t want to come across as this overenthusiastic puppy; however, I do want my Wonderful Wife to know she is the most important person in the world to me.

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Comments

  1. Lysa Wright says:

    When I met you, you came across as outgoing, charming, intelligent, funny and gracious. Just so ya know what kind of first impressions I got! 🙂

    1. gwalter says:

      Thanks Lisa, the last 20 years have been filled with a lot of growth – there are some who still expect perfection, but most understand that progress is more important than perfection. Thanks again!

    2. gwalter says:

      PS: I do better in small groups or one on one. 😉

  2. Lysa Wright says:

    When I met you, you came across as outgoing, charming, intelligent, funny and gracious. Just so ya know what kind of first impressions I got! 🙂

    1. gwalter says:

      Thanks Lisa, the last 20 years have been filled with a lot of growth – there are some who still expect perfection, but most understand that progress is more important than perfection. Thanks again!

    2. gwalter says:

      PS: I do better in small groups or one on one. 😉

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