"Will you write a blog about me Aunt Michelle?"
I started thinking, "What can we, as adults, learn by watching this universally loved boy?" Why does everyone smile when he walks in the room, and break in to a full grin when they hear that he will be showing up? Here are some things that Patrick does quite naturally that it would serve us well to emulate:
Be friendly and embrace meeting new people. I have seen this kid make friends everywhere he goes. He greets people of all ages with a smile, and acts like he has known them his whole life and just hasnt formally met them yet. He sits at a table at a church function chatting as easily with a couple next to him in their thirties that he just met as he does with some kids from his class.
Be genuinely interested in the stories people tell. Look them in the eye when they are talking. Laugh at their jokes. Remember at least one special thing about them, and refer to it the next time you see them. We had a really good laugh about this excerpt from a Family Guy episode a few years ago:
Be curious about the world. Patrick loves learning all kinds of new things. He doesnt limit himself to one little section of the world, geographically, culturally, musically, in food. He loves to try new things and learn about different customs, art, science, music. He sees the world as being there for him to experience, one piece at a time. You dont have to force him to try something new, he cant wait! Thai food? "Sure, Ill try it!" Duck, "I cant wait to see what thats like." You get the idea. The kid has his arms wide open to the Universe.
Lead with, "how can I help," not, "what can you do for me?" Patrick is the kind of person who sees that you are making coffee, and he is pulling the beans out the freezer and offering you to help grind the beans and get the water. He sees that you are doing the Ride for Roswell and he wants to sponsor you. He has a knack for keep an eye out to see who needs help and offering it without having to be asked.
Dont tell stories that might make other people look bad. When my father (Patricks grandfather) got jammed
in to the car at the supermarket because some jerko parked their car too closely, there was kind of an ordeal getting my dad, who has a bad back and has broken his neck, over to the other side and out the door. They came back to
rejoin a family gathering and Patrick did not say a word. My dad ended up telling everybody, and made it all hilarious and fun,but it was his story to tell. Plenty of other kids or adults would have blabbed the details the second
that they walked through the door.
Have a sense of humor. This is kind of a requirement to survive in my family, but it also helps in dealing
with people and situations throughout your life. Your life is much more enjoyable if you are quick to laugh with others, and laugh off your own mistakes.
Be persistent. When Patrick learns a new sport he practices relentlessly. When trying to figure out a game or computer issue, there is no one more resourceful or persistent. Consequently, he eventually figures things out or becomes good at whatever he works on.
Keep an eye out for some who dont have the easy charm that you possess. Help them make friends. I have seen this boy help some awkward kids and adults in to the "fun" group by helping them get started. If you have easy charm this is your birthright.
Play a sport. No matter what your age, you can benefit from playing a sport. This is a wonderful time to make new friends, let off some steam, and get some exercise. Patrick has played many sports already at this point in his life. He is quite athletic, but he is also a very good sport. There are some important life skills there about teamwork, effort, and patience.
Have some fun, and encourage those around you to do the same. There is no reason to forget this when we graduate from high school. We need to remember this lesson for the rest of our lives. Patrick loves to have fun, and he makes sure that everyone around him does the same.
See the good in people. Other than an occasional moment here and there with his brother, this is what Patrick does. He can finds something nice to say about everybody.
This story is for a guy who couldnt wait to read my blog and asked me to write about him. You cant help but feel better for learning a bit about him. So there it is Patch. A blog about you and by extension, about all of us. Thank you for a great suggestion, and for being my partner-in-crime at most family functions. Life is more fun when you are around.