Yesterday I had a really important lunch meeting. You can always gauge the importance of meetings that involve a meal by the eating to talking ratio. This particular meeting had a eating to talking ratio of 1 to 50. Or is it 1:50? Either way, we did a lot more talking than eating.
Here’s what we talked about.
The afterlife. More specifically, will bees sting people in heaven.
The problem of evil. Who is a better villain, The Joker or Darth Vader?
Military strategy. What should one do if one is approached by a sword-wielding lunatic?
Like I said, this was an important lunch meeting. Oh, and throughout the entire lunch meeting, the dude to my immediate left was wearing nothing but his underwear. Hopefully next time I have lunch with the governor I’ll be better prepared for this sort of thing.
Because of how close my office is to my home, I’m able to have this same important lunch meeting with my wife and two sons every afternoon.
But yesterday I almost missed it.
As soon we sat down my phone vibrated. A few minutes later it did it again. And then again. I was so tempted to excuse myself from my important lunch meeting to see what all the fuss on my phone was about. I’m glad I ignored my phone. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to tell my sons that it’s okay to run away from a sword-wielding lunatic, that Darth Vader is probably the coolest bad guy of all-time and that there will be no bee stings in heaven. I would hate to have missed out on that conversation just so I could see that my phone wanted to update the compass app and that someone wrote “LOL :)” on a Facebook status I commented on.
The things we talked about at lunch probably don’t seem that important and, on their own, maybe they’re not. But our lunch meetings aren’t important because of the topics we discuss. They’re important because of the conversation. Discussing topics can be done simply by being present. Conversation requires being engaged. My wife and kids need the leader of their home to be more than present. They need me to be engaged.
A few weeks ago I went into an electronics store. I was considering making a purchase but I had a few questions first. I went to the first associate I could find and asked away. Halfway through our conversation, he pulled out his phone. Apparently someone laughed out loud at his Facebook status. I didn’t buy anything that day and I walked away feeling like I was in the way, like maybe that guy had more important things to deal with than my questions.
I would hate to send that same message to my wife and two sons.
If you need me tomorrow around lunch time, feel free to call or text but it will be a while before I can get back to you. I’ve got a really important lunch meeting scheduled with some special people.
And who knows, maybe this time the dude to my immediate left will put some clothes on.