This little story I'm about to tell you happened when I was about 11 years old, and I'll never forget it.
I was at my friend Jenny's house after school one day, and we were doing (or not doing!) homework. While I was there a friend of Jenny's mom came over to visit.
I don't remember her name or even what her face looked like. I just remember her hands, her voice and the lesson she taught me.
I can still see her hand reaching out for mine in our introduction. They were so beautiful, I thought; rich, dark skin perfectly complemented by the tangerine colored polish on her nails. Then I heard her saying, (and not at all in a condescending manner) "Oh no, that is NOT how you shake hands. Let me show you how."
After that, I just remember her voice explaining the importance of a good handshake, conveying a positive sense of self, looking the other person in the eye, making that first moment matter...I think in that exchange I first understood respect.
I respected her for taking the time to teach me about one of those subtleties in life. I appreciated the fact that she didn't talk down to me because I was 11 or because I didn't know something. And so because of that I felt somewhat respected, I mean in the way she treated me. It felt good to be talked to like a real person, and not like whatever the general perception of an 11-year-old would be. I also appreciate her instilling the idea that if someone doesn't know or isn't aware of something, have compassion and point him or her in the right direction; don't be afraid to share your knowledge.
I think of her every time I meet someone new...and I'm so thankful for her little lesson.
Submitted by Anonymous