My dad always greeted me with some variation of: “How’s my darling daughter, the most beautiful girl in the world?”
It’s not that I am the most beautiful girl in the world, but my dad saw me that way. And he let me know.
Greetings are important.
Will Harbut knew that too. He cared for Man o’ War, one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
Will’s greeting was always the same.
“There ain’t any second Man o’ Wars. This is the greatest hoss of them all. Nobody will ever know how good he was — there wasn’t anything to run with him. There ain’t ever been anything like him and there won’t ever be again.”
Wow. What a greeting.
Will loved the horse and the horse loved him.
I greet each of my four horses in a similar fashion. Here are two examples:
Petra, you are the daughter of equine royalty, by far the greatest horse in the history of horses. God outdid Himself when He made you.
Liberty, you are the best Paso Fino in the entire world of Pasos. Your shining white coat and beautiful eyes are totally unique.
I greet my family in a similar way.
To my daughter I say: How is the smartest most beautiful girl in the whole world?
To my husband I say: Hello, my love. Thank you for being the hardest-working, most compassionate doctor!
To my son I say: God knew what he was doing when he created you. You are perfect.
To my friends I say things like:
You’re the best.
I’d be lost without you.
I am grateful for you.
How are you so awesome?
Wow! Your talent is remarkable!
I love you.
And here’s the thing: All these statements are a true reflection of the joy I feel about the amazing people in my life.
Do I always speak this way? No, of course not.
There are times when we need to learn, change and grow.
That conversation takes a slightly different tone.
My friend Nicolay handled such a conversation perfectly.
I ended a phone conversation abruptly and told him I would call him back.
Here’s how he responded:
Nic: Are you OK? I was worried about you, concerned I said something wrong.
Kim: Yes, I am OK. I got another call that I thought might have been urgent.
Nic: That’s why I put my phone on silent when I talk with you.
He was right. He deserved my focus for an hour.
So speak with ‘over the top love’ sometimes.
Then when it’s time to change a behavior, guide your words carefully to preserve the dignity of your loved one.
Try it, and see what a difference it makes.