My name is Wilson Horrell

{shakes hand} 

Nice to meet you.

If I had to pick one lesson that my parents taught me that I appreciate the most, it would be acknowledging and introducing myself to others.

I worked out with the men of F3 this morning. I don’t work out with them often enough but I always leave there with an appreciation of something. Today, there were eight guys there that I graduated high school with. EIGHT! That, to me, is a pretty significant number of grown men waking up early in the morning to do something that none of us really want to have to do. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I have made connections in my life that have lasted as long as they have.

I grew up in a special time in a special place around special people. I learned from these people. I am a benefactor of the lessons that my parent’s generation taught me.

My mom and dad introduced themselves. They introduced me to other people. I was taught to look people in the eye, give a firm handshake and enunciate my name when meeting new folks. I have witnessed my mom and dad make the uncomfortable short walk across a  ballfield or over a bleacher or over a row or across a room to extend their hand and say, “My name is Ed/Elaine Horrell, I am Wilson/Ted’s dad/mom”. Without this, I would have grown up in a world full of strangers, instead, I grew in a universe that gave me open access to every front yard, spare bedroom, kitchen refrigerator, and dining room table within 20 square miles. I had 1,000 parents because my parents were familiar with their parents. I was praised, punished, and spoiled by all of them.

I knew every kid’s parents on every team that I ever played for. I probably caught a ride home from school, practice, the movies, or some event from 200 different families in my youth. I knew these people because my parents introduced themselves to people. I was able to form more meaningful relationships with kids my age because my parents were willing to jump over the uncomfortable hurdle that comes with initializing conversation and formally introducing themselves. I had no idea at the time how important all of this was when I was growing up.

Because the generation of my parents had developed a culture which practiced the art of being cordial, I was given the freedom to grow up with all kinds of different people. I could spend the night with the Lovinski’s, the Mac’s, the Thornton’s and the Caesar’s. I could go on vacation with the Belcher’s, the Baker’s, and the Venegas’s. And I could go to the lake with the Moore’s, the Fowler’s or the Reynold’s. I could do these things because my parents knew their parents and there was at least a degree of familiarity and commonality. I am not saying that my parents spent every weekend picnicking with the parents of my friends but there was at least a degree of confidence that the families I spent my time with were not serial murderers.

I have to be honest, I do a shitty job of carrying on the values that were instilled in me. I go to my kids’ games and events and I do like the rest of the parents- the parents who even stick around- I grab a chair and I stare at my phone. I don’t do a good enough job of introducing myself and creating a familiarity with the families of the peers of my children. My parents interacted, visited, talked and got to know one another….I stare and click and read and pass the time.

One of the things that I enjoy about F3 is the “Name-O-Rama”. Every newcomer who attends gets a nickname and everyone in attendance is required to introduce themselves, state their age, birth name and F3 nickname…. every time, not just sometimes and not when it’s convenient or comfortable. State your name, age, nickname…every single time.. It might seem meaningless or mundane but the connection that it provides is in fact very powerful.

The fact that my parents introduced themselves to the parents of my peers thirty years ago meant very little at the time. But when I am still interacting with these people, thirty years later, I can see the importance in the art of introduction.

“Hello. My name is…”

There is a lot that can come from that.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,