FIT@50Week 94: Approaching the New Year Happily

FIT@50Week 94: Approaching the New Year Happily

FIT@50 – Week 93: It Feels Good

How do you encourage your kids to lean on the truth?

FIT@50 / Week 92: Ugly’s Last Stand

FIT@50 / Week 91: I See You

FIT@50 / Week 91: I See You

Our kids are well, kids. They rattle on when they should just hush and shut down when they should shine. But alas, they are kids. I’d say for the most part they are pretty socially capable. Relatively speaking of course. After all, the boys are 7, 9, and 10.

They’ve all noticed I enjoy talking with people. The 13 year old calls me mister sociable, and then the 7 year old stumbles over the pronunciation of “sociable” to ask what it means. She smacks of early teenage condescension, “It means he talks a lot.”

Ahhhh, 13.

I’m happy they take notice.

What Leah Silverii and I teach the kids is to see people. I’m sure you understand what I mean, but to children, they are working to understand the difference between, “Watch out for that person,” and “Watch that person.”

I don’t talk to people just to fill space or hear myself pontificate over the weather or current state of affairs. I enjoy seeing them. It may be just a smile and hello, or a chat about travelling circuses. The subject matter doesn’t matter. It’s about making a human contact.

What does matter is making a human connection. It starts because my head is always up and my eyes are always looking forward. First is the cop in me. I visually scan everything. The second part is the benefit of making eye contact. It never fails to connect with someone else.

Once that visual connection is made, words naturally flow after a smile. And that is the simple art of being mister sociable.

There are folks who’ve not been seen their entire lives. Others who feel the weight of no longer being seen. Either side of the coin, it’s a horrible feeling to traverse this life invisible to everyone around you.

Since I retired from a very public position, and moved to an entirely different state, I could easily see how becoming one in a sea of anonymous anybodies could negatively affect you.

Going from instantly recognized, to one of the crowd in a big city was odd for me. I was used to the uniform serving as an instant ticket to enter into any conversation. Now, no one had a clue who I was or what I once did.

What I discovered was the most critical point of being social. It wasn’t the uniform, or the job, or the familiar locale. It was having my head up, eyes open and being receptive. I’ve always looked to see others. I cherish making the connection and the follow up with a few encouraging words.

I’m glad our kids see this. We want them to understand the value of being seen, but more importantly, seeing others. Everyone has value. Their exterior may be presented in faded jeans and a flannel shirt, or an expensive business suit, but it’s what in and behind the eyes that matter most.

Every holiday season is a challenge for me to minimize the seasonal depression that has plagued me since my teens. This year is no different, but without the facade of a uniform and shield, I’ve enjoyed more than ever being wide-eyed and sociable as me, and not the police chief.

Another wonderful benefit of seeing is also being seen. Give it a try. Don’t just look at someone. Look into someone. Each has a story to share. Maybe they’ll bless you with it if you hang around just a bit.

I See You.

Do Good,
Scott

FIT@50 / Week 89: Thanks, Thanksgiving

FIT@50 / Week 89: Thanks, Thanksgiving

Earlier this week I’d posted a question about fried or baked. I received plenty of comments that not only left me hungry, but realizing there are many more ways for preparing a turkey.

The next day I asked if you could have anyone – past, present or future join you for Thanksgiving, who would it be. I first expected to get answers like George Washington, Jesus, and Tom Brady.

Instead, the outpouring was so emotional, I once considered removing the question from my feed. Then I considered that everyone was only expressing what they felt most deeply in their hearts.

Deceased and estranged parents, siblings, spouses, children, in-laws, grandparents, friends and loved ones lost way too early or who had grown way too old.

It first felt like a punch in the chest as I read every one of the responses. I thought about my mom who I would’ve loved to have met Liliana Hart and Max. Next I thought about my dad who passed in September, who had it not been for the ravages of dementia, would’ve loved knowing Liliana Hart better and enjoying a little more time with Max.

Then the wrenching of my feelings turned to empathy for all of us who’ve lost uniquely special people in their lives. People who enriched us if by only their mere presence, and not by their bold actions.

I was reminded by so many answers that a deeper lost was felt for those unknown, never known or passed without passing paths. The spouses who never met their in-law, or the adult whose grandparent died long before they were conceived.

Greater still were the wishes of spending a day of thanks with angels miscarried, aborted or taken back into the merciful arms of Christ before reaching an age of accountability.

It was a humbling day of thankfulness, but for so many like myself, it’s also a day of re-mourning, regret, wishful wishes and realizations of never will be’s. But, by the grace of God, it is well with my soul, as I trust it is with yours.

I don’t regret asking that simple question, and I do rejoice in the responses, who instead of harboring the sadness of loss or missing, chose to share not only their replies, but their memories with everyone else. Isn’t that one of the most wonderful ways of ensuring they actually did spend the day with you?

This Thanksgiving was a bit different for Leah Silverii & I, but what looked like a doomed day inside a cross-country airplane ride, ended with leftovers at family and one excited Max. For that, I am also thankful. So here’s to getting through the day with a grin to end the night.

Thanks, Thanksgiving.

Do Good,
Scott Silverii

FIT@50 / Week 82: Custom(er) Service

FIT@50 / Week 82
Custom(er) Service

While this week’s FIT@50 arrived a day late, it was also the article’s motivation. Max and I flew back home to Dallas late last night, and after a few days away from everyone, I decided the welcome backs were more important than the writing.

I make no secret that I believe in old-school American values. That particularly applies to the way you treat people. That of course, transcends to the way you conduct your business—both personal and professional.

Liliana Hart and I have chronicled our trials with the despicably unethical home builder, and both look forward to writing very candidly about who he is and the facts of his less-than-legal accounting and accountability. Our hope would be that our house would be the last house he’d be contracted to build.

But, we were blessed to recently sell that home and are grateful that it will bless another family. This of course brings me back on track about placing value in the values we hold dear.

People seem to always find a way to interact with Max. His friendly, whole-face smile disarms most, and his energetic enthusiasm for everything from muddling through the TSA screening process to ordering a NOLA Lucky Dog attracts positive attention from others.

We like Southwest Airlines for our every week and a half flights back and forth between Dallas and Louisiana. It’s a casual flight, and although I’m not a big fan of competitive cattle-call seating, the one hour and fifteen minute flights whiz by.

What also makes them our favorite carrier is the way their employees seem to enjoy being there. Southwest Airlines has a storied past about the way they bucked the traditionally rigid airline business model to become the only major carrier to have not filed bankruptcy, merged and consistently posted profits for the last 43 years.

They empower people—their employees.

This was evident Friday as Max and I boarded and the pilot immediately greeted us. Max’s usual smile was on display as he returned the hello. The pilot invited Max into the cockpit. Max hesitated. The pilot asked again with an even warmer welcome.

Max was invited to sit in the giant captain’s seat while the instrument panel popped alive with brilliant lights and buttons. His face brightened even more as he repeatedly mouthed, “WOW.”

After a fun, casual chat and a few pictures, we headed back to our seats. Immediately, I tweeted the picture of Max with his new friend and tagged @SouthwestAir. Their top-notch public relations team quickly responded and sent a direct message to my account thanking me and asked for a flight confirmation to thank the pilot and crew.

By the time we deplaned, the pilot told Max good-bye. He shook my hand and said, “Thanks Brother. I appreciate the good word over Twitter.”

Talk about custom, customer service!

While it may seem to be a promo for Southwest Airlines (it is a little) it’s more about an appreciation for a company that started and still values their core values.

Their company values include:
Live the Southwest Way
– Warrior Spirit
– Servant’s Heart
– Fun-LUVing Attitude

They came through last night and made a sweet boy who already flies often, an even bigger fan of the friendly skies. They did good.

Do Good,
Scott

FIT@50 / Week 81 – The Tie

FIT@50 / week 81

The Tie:
 
This is my first season of Texas high school football. I’ve not been to a high school football game since I last felt the sharp crack of my left tibia and fibula in 1982.
 
While much less painful than that October night, I’ve enjoyed becoming a drum-line booster for our 14 year old. I love sports. I don’t care if its pee-wee football or senior citizens Bache ball, I enjoy the skill but more importantly, the heart of the competitor. It’s why I will not watch the NFL or any other team endorsing a disregard for America’s principles over the purpose of turning a profit.
 
When high schoolers kneel during the National Anthem to protest social injustices, just what injustices are they protesting? Maybe they are protesting the fact that over half of children their age live at or below the poverty level, and instead of getting to stay after school to play a game, they leave for work.
 
Maybe they protest that while Nike, UnderArmor and Riddell adorn their prepubescent bodies, kids from families who cannot afford socks will drop out of school at a rate 7 times higher than those who kneel while our nation’s anthem is played. And I’ll end with the fact that less than 30% of students to busy working afterschool jobs to feed themselves and their families than to play a game on Friday night will enroll in college. Oh, and of those that do, less than 50% will graduate.
 
Protesting an unspecified purpose is no protest at all—it’s imitation. I’ve yet to have the term “social injustice” operationalized. The only specific point of clarity is the name of a football team’s second string quarterback.
 
The ignominy of social imitation without fully understanding the implications is that only .04% of high school students who qualify will enlist in the military. Those 2 players out of a 54 person roster have already illustrated behavior non-conducive to military eligibility.
 
While I’m sure the back-up QB they pretend to understand appreciates the disregard for their yet undetermined futures, please accept that he’s fully enjoying the fruits of his one or two good seasons that netted him millions more than their relatives combined will have earned over multiple generations of living in a free nation.
 
So back to Texas high school football. Our 8 year old likes a girl from his class. A few weeks ago, I jokingly suggested he wear a tie to the game to impress her. He balked at the idea. Tonight, we pile in to drive to the stadium. It’s a chilly fall evening, so lil’ dude has his Harley Davidson jacket zipped up tight.
 
He flashes a smile and yanks down on the zipper. Yep, he’s got a tie clipped to his t-shirt. He seals up the surprise until they meet. Unfortunately, she didn’t show. Heartbroken, we return home and he sighs, “I wore this tie for nothing.”
 
I thought about it and understood it wasn’t for nothing. Although he didn’t like the look or idea of that checkered polyester tie over his school spirit t-shirt, he wore it for the right reason—respect for someone/something he cared about.
 
That’s much more than I can say for those children on their knees surrendering the honor of having the freedom to play games on Friday nights in the name of social injustices while 51% of their peers cannot afford the cost of a stadium ticket.
 
Do Good,
Scott
Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.