Today I went to a funeral of the mother of a friend. I took my nine-year old son with me as he was hanging out with me this day at my law offices during his spring break. He had only been to two previous funerals, one for his cousin and one for his maternal grandfather.
“Papa,” he asked, “why are we going to this funeral so far away and who is this person?” It was only 19 miles away, but to him, it seemed to be in another state.
I explained to him that a friend’s elderly mother died and I wanted to show her and her family my support. She had always been supportive of me. I told my son that you have to be there for people and “show up for them.” It is part of being a gentleman, being compassionate, and being gracious. “That’s what we do,” I said. He understood. Although he was having fun watching videos in my office before we left for the funeral, he got it that doing the right thing always trumps self-centeredness and inconvenience.
In life as in business, small gestures of compassion and kindness count. My having to explain to my son the importance of showing up for friends and colleagues reminded me of the importance of being there for others. I aim to always be counted when it counts. I hope my son aims too.