It’s the start of a brand-new year and that’s the equivalent of your child’s first day in school or engaging in an activity for the first time. Beginnings, no matter how small, are powerful. It’s the small interactions that teach us how to become more comfortable in the bigger ones and adept at reading social cues. In fact, how children learn to enter a room, engage new friends, or respond to an adult or teacher, all set the stage for how they will be perceived and ultimately how satisfied and happy they will be with their circle of friends and eventually their professional work.
There’s an old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In my book, From Underdog to Wonderdog: Top Ten Ways to Lead Your Pack, there’s a chapter on cheerfulness and first impressions called “Let the Tail Wag the Dog”. This book was inspired by the superior meeting and greeting skills of my first rescue pup, Mr. Blue. As a youngster, I learned the fine art of brightening up any room by watching my father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. He would literally welcome everyone he ever met with open arms, a warm smile, and a kind word. Canines like Mr. Blue, are universally loved because they have mastered the art of meeting someone for the first time with exuberance and warmth.
Whether you’ve been gone ten minutes or ten months, when you enter your dog’s world you are greeted as if you are the greatest living thing on planet Earth. My father had the same effect on every single person he met. I know this because I still get calls and emails from people who clearly remember meeting my father ten, twenty, thirty, even forty years or more ago. Imagine how pawsome the world would be if we made each other feel this way in our everyday interactions! Check out Mr. Blue in action, engaging a few of his newest admirers at one of our school presentations.
You can teach youngsters this desirable behavior. It is so important for a child to learn how to interact in a polite and kind manner. Children need to be taught to make others feel welcome and how to smile at them, make eye contact and engage them. Sometimes we think this is just an intuitive behavior and perhaps for some children it may be, but for others, showing them how to win friends and radiate a pleasing personality can open up a whole new world and increase their confidence.
Psychologists refer to this particular trait as Agreeableness and if you can develop this behavior it will make your child’s likability factor instantly increase. We all know how cliquish and sensitive, and unfortunately even unkind, children can be. Agreeableness is focused on how well we get along with others. It has nothing to do with being an introvert or extrovert but rather how kind, polite, patient, sensitive, helpful, and unselfish we are. And it can - and needs - to be taught. We can help children choose friends who exhibit agreeable behavior and teach them how to, in turn, be agreeable themselves. Teaching children the behaviors and benefits of being amiable will not only help them make pawsitive first impressions, but also open future doors for them throughout their teenage years and adult life! My father built his legacy on this and I live it every day.
Interested in learning more about how to make an engaging entrance? Stay tuned for my soon-to-be-released: How to Develop a Pawitive Purrsonality: EQ made EZ due out this spring! You can read all about how my newest rescue, Goliath, went from being the brat of the pack to the most lovable little brother ever!
Now accepting bookings for 2018 and beyond!