For example, I know for a fact that most of my friends haven’t spent 3 hours walking around a people-filled building, shakings strangers’ hands and smiling with no underlying emotion until their face hurts.
Most of the time I wouldn’t understand what the purpose of this was, and why every single person we saw would choose to elaborate on how big I’ve gotten since they last saw me five years ago.
I’ve had to go through this a lot throughout my life. Not that it’s entirely a bad thing. The perks of enduring the monotonous activity of being a tag-along to my dad included getting to go the Kentucky Derby, The Governor’s Mansion, and numerous UK basketball games. I actually quite enjoyed these kinds of experiences, despite the fact I had to shake thirty something hands of people who pretended to really know me.
The only time I liked conversing with seemingly random adults was when I got to hear a story about my dad as a kid, or one of my grandpa. Then my smile was truly genuine.
Not until I became a teenager did I understand what all of these skills did for me: the shaking of hands, the formal and smiling visage I put on, and the nod of my head as I pretended to listen to what the adult was droning on about in my presence. I finally began to use these skills outside of the political world, and among the adults of my own community.
Many of my friends don’t have the experience of talking with numerous unfamiliar grownups, and it can be awkward for them just to have a conversation with a teacher or a friend’s parent. As I got older, I realized that adults actually say things worth listening to, especially some of the ones I met with my dad.
I’ll always be able to listen attentively to what people are older than me are saying, and reply back with an intelligent comment. All because I started at an early age, being the little girl I was, shaking hands two sizes bigger then my own.
And for that I want to say thanks, Dad.