By Chris Christopher, San Diego Men’s Division, Southwest Region
So I thought I knew what caring was. You know, caring is when you think about something – and you really care. That is what I used to think.
As a business owner, not long ago I had to let 17 people go from one of our businesses. It was painful. One of the people we let go was a man from my division. We both “knew” it was the right thing to do. Very professional. And I really cared about him. I thought about him and his family frequently.
Seeing him was still awkward. I saw him at a division event the day after we let him go. We were fine, but it was awkward for me. I really thought I cared.
In November, we saw each other at another division meeting. We had an encounter. I said some stuff. It didn’t go particularly well. And then I learned what it really means for me to care.
He is hurting. This is a strong man that I love like a brother and like a son. I am old enough, and he is young enough, for that to happen. I realized in an instant that real caring isn’t something I think about; it is something I do something about. Action demonstrates my care. I realized then that I had to act. I committed right then, that if he would let me, to call him every day until he is able to take care of his family. This would show how I really care.
It is still awkward sometimes, but I do call him anyway. It is right up with the best things I have done since I joined MDI in 1998. I learned a powerful lesson. Again.
So how does this lesson show up in my life? I have a 22-year-old son. On the night I write this, he organized a big party to celebrate his birthday with a ton of his friends. He works part-time at a local watering hole. I needed to get some exercise before I went to bed. In action, I stopped by. My son knows I love him, but it made an impression that I just showed up. Words are great but what I do says it all.
You know what his friends all said … “I wish my dad would do that.”