Parents get advice on how to raise their children from lots of sources–sometimes that’s from their kids. One of my very favorite stories about my brother happened when he was very young, perhaps four or five, but certainly no older than eight. In the 1970’s there were few real shopping malls in Fort Worth. When we went shopping with Mom, we all piled into the blue Plymouth and went downtown to one of the city’s larger department stores like Cox’s or Montgomery Ward’s.
Mom and Dad always taught us to be gentlemen and to hold the door for ladies, so when Tony arrived at the door to the Leonard’s department store ahead of a lady shopper, he sprang into action.
Even as a very small boy, it seemed my brother was perpetually in trouble. His exuberance and curiosity usually got the better of him, and so he broke things occasionally (well, a lot). It was fairly common when we were young to hear a parent roaring from another part of the house that Tony had broken something. Candidly, the broken things around the house weren’t always his fault, but it happened often enough that everyone in the family seemed to think it was. For my part, I was happy to let him take the blame instead of me! Tony would get his revenge, however, if only by accident.
Gentleman Tony dutifully held the door open for our mother and the lady shopper. Taken in by the cute little boy holding the door, the lady shopper turned to my brother and exclaimed loudly enough for Mom to hear, “My, what a lovely thing to do! What’s your name, young man?”
My brother pulled himself up to his full three and a half foot height and, beaming, replied with the name he’d been called so often he believed it to be his own, “Tony Dammit!”
Mickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.
Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.