Pam Rainey: Grandparents have lessons worth sharing

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Taped to the top of my desk is a hurriedly written quote in my handwriting: “People reveal themselves.”

Although I have no idea where I heard it, nor when I recorded it, it has been most meaningful to me. It goes along with the quote I heard as a child, “First impressions are usually correct.”

The question I’ve pondered since acquiring the note is this: How do we reveal ourselves? I’ve taken the time to observe people and check the quote for accuracy. Here’s what I’ve learned: Over time, masks come off as people deal with positive, difficult and stressful situations.

Not long ago a young client insisted on calling me “Mrs. Rainey” — not Pam, or Realtor Pam.

I was called Mrs. Rainey throughout the entire transaction. Since life is so casual these days, I was at first taken aback and I wanted to say to him, “At ease, please!”

Thankfully, I didn’t.

Not wanting to be rude, I pondered just how to tackle the issue. On the one hand, it was pleasant to my ears to hear the respect he had for me in his voice. He was a very young man. But, I wanted him to know we were partners working together to meet his goals.

But still. It seemed as though we had an object between us that needed to be removed. Then, after he explained, I “got it.”

There was no object between us. It was manners.

“My grandparents raised me,” he said. “They always instructed me to be polite, and that includes addressing my elders in a proper way.”

I blushed a little and silently thanked his grandparents who, it seemed, had made a marvelous impact upon his young life. You see, he was polite not only in his speech but in his actions and business dealings. He opened doors for me. There was never a condescending tone to his voice.

In making real estate decisions, he was not passive. He was extremely firm. Yet, he exercised something some have forgotten: being courteous.

I was reminded being polite does not conflict with conducting business in a fair, professional way. Also, it is not inconsistent with telling the truth, exercising your rights and being ethical.

The young man’s grandparents appeared to have revealed themselves by training a young man to have a balance in his life.

He was polite and a sharp businessman. He obviously mirrored their values of “treating others properly.” Never did I observe his ethics conflict with being a disciplined businessman.

Grandparents Day falls on Sept. 9. Many children are being raised by grandparents who have the perfect opportunity over time to “reveal themselves” positively to their descendants.

I am a grandparent and find it a great time to examine my track record of just how I am revealing myself to all who come behind me. My opportunities seem to be passing quickly to encourage honesty, respect for others, personal integrity and a good work ethic.

As Americans, we have a chance to reveal ourselves positively to our descendants and others who are impressionable. As Grandparents Day approaches, I find it a great time to look for ways in which I am missing the mark.

People will reveal themselves. First impressions are usually correct. Along with those reminders is another note I have scribbled and taped to my desk.

“It is never too late to change.”

PAM RAINEY is a 40-year Denton resident and a real estate agent who has helped many seniors make decisions about living arrangements. You can reach her with suggestions at or 940-367-1188.

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