Many moons ago while attending Dalhousie University, I was in a fraternity, Phi Kappa Pi. Well technically I am still am but the days of partying 6 days a week and resting on Tuesday nights are long gone.
Back then, we used to have this annual event where we’d go down to a local beach just outside of Halifax and have more than a ‘few’ beers throughout the day.
I can’t remember what year it was, maybe my second year at Dal or possibly my third. I’m not sure honestly, but I do remember the event. We had finished gallivanting for the day and had returned to one of the ‘older’ brother’s houses at Queensland Beach.
It's an excellent sand beach located on the South Shore that is 300m long and about 40 minutes from Halifax. Some days you can get some great wave action, but this day it was sunny and warm with hardly any wind.
At the time I was 19ish, and Pattrick Amj Dunphy was 40ish so the words ‘older’ are relative…
I remember talking to Pat, it was his house, and I remember him telling me about his son who played football. This part I don’t know but let’s just make it up and say he asked if I wanted to see the football his son had used to win the City Championship...
Me: “No I’m not interested.”
It was the truth, I wasn't...
Pat proceeded to pull me aside from the group, and he gave me shit like he was my Dad. He gave me some advice that has stuck with me to this day.
After ripping me for being a dick, he said something along the lines of...
“If someone cares enough to show you something that they are proud of say yes. They cared enough to want to show it to you, and it is important to them, pay attention."
In other words, care about people.
Those aren’t the exact words, but you get the point.
Immediately, I felt like I had been an asshole. Here I was some young punk kid disrespecting him at his house while he hosted a party for us. He ended up showing me the football in the end, and I learned something that day that has continued to stick with me.
Back then we mostly cared about ourselves, girls and where the next party was going to be but that moment sticks out to me as a piece of advice that I still remember to this day.
Fast forward 20 years and I’m the ‘old guy’...
Now, being a Realtor, people often want to show me their... ‘footballs’ (keep it, clean friends).
People have great pride in their homes, family and lives they have created. Usually at some point, while they are showing me around their house, I am fortunate enough to hear about or, see something that is important and meaningful to them.
The difference is nowadays when we are getting ready to list their home; I am usually more interested in hearing the stories of their ‘footballs’ than the specifics of the hardwood floors.
You never know what it might be that someone has pride in. It might be photos of their family, a framed university degree hanging on their wall or perhaps rocks from different mountains from around the world that they have visited. If they have kids, it adds a whole other level to this.
My interest in what they are showing me is genuine too, not just a lesson learned many years ago.
Maybe it has to do with caring about others. Everyone is different and has a unique story; fortunately, I get to hear them on a semi-daily basis.
Today I couldn’t imagine being in someone’s home and having them offer to show me something that they care about and me saying "No"...
Pat’s message still resonates with me today some 22+ years after he gave me shit in his backyard overlooking the beach.