I didn't have this sort of difficulty when I saw M. I hadn't seen M in 19 years, so the changes in him seemed to me to have occurred overnight. Additionally, the guy is just super successful. He owns his business, owns the real estate where his business sits, has employees, pays taxes, and has a happy life, wife, and daughter. As we shared lunch and conversation, he downplayed his successes. I think he does this because he is genuinely humble and always on a mission to keep making improvements of his own. That's my hope. Later, I worried, though, that perhaps he, like me, had a difficult time gauging his progress because he is too close to the situation. If that's the case, I hope he reads this, and I hope that I am very clear when I say, "Well done, M. You are doing wonderfully. You are a success story."
I met up with S at her 7th grade daughter's track meet. It was the first track meet of her first season ever. Seeing the meet brought back some interesting memories, reminding me of a 7th grade, shorter/rounder me. S and I watched her daughter and others participate in the long jump. None of the jumps really seemed particularly long, though in reality I'm sure that nearly everybody jumped further than I could with my knees that sound like old rubber bands trying to stretch without snapping. S and I talked about her kids and the emotions that come with having kids, raising kids, and loving kids. Since all of her kids compete in sports, I asked her how it felt as she watched them participate. I imagine it must be a time of immense pride to see your children try, whether they succeed or fail. She answered simply and I doubt the words she used were as important to me as the way she said them. I doubt she even realized that conversation would have an impact, but it did nonetheless. I still don't know much about the way a parent feels about a child, but thanks to S, I think I'm at least closer to getting it.
It starts the moment that a guest walks into your front door. There is no time to waste. It is imperative that you immediately comment to your wife about the guest's past digestive issues. After that, it gets a bit more complicated. For example, you'll need to plan months in advance for your guest's arrival so that you can properly train your dog. Once Fido is up to speed and the guest is onsite, you'll want to make sure your guest sits about 10 feet downwind from the pooch. At that point, acting at your direction, the dog will fart, maintain constant eye contact with the guest, then let the gentle Selah breeze do its thing. Lastly, you'll want to be sure to emphasize just how awful your guest was at cross country during his high school career.
Or course, you are always free to go above and beyond these bare minimums (perhaps a couple stupid, awkward movie quotes would help), but these will get you off to a solid start. If you do it right, your guest will have a terrific dinner, and feel loved and excited to come back for another steak on your deck / lawsuit-waiting-to-happen.