February 6th was the centennial of Ronald Reagan’s birth. Many of you have read testimonials to the late President. One article I particularly enjoyed was an interview of President George H. W. Bush who was Reagan’s Vice President. When asked to describe President Reagan, he began with the observation that he was a “kind” man, never mean. President Bush went on to observe that he never once witnessed the late President raise his voice in anger. Even with the most obscure staffer.
President Reagan was affable. I bet you haven’t heard that term in a while? By definition, a person who is affable is “easy to speak to,” approachable – civil. They are individuals who are slow to anger. It is a trait that reveals itself as a virtue in all great men and women. It is one reason all such leaders are unforgettable and deeply admired. Perhaps we are surprised to observe this characteristic in luminaries? It shouldn’t.
Another remarkable president was Abraham Lincoln. I hold the view that he may have been the greatest leader this nation ever produced. An inherently kind and compassionate man, one Union soldier remarked “When we spoke of Lincoln we called him Father Abraham, and we meant it!” The novelist and noted Civil War historian Shelby Foote described Lincoln as a man who could stand away from himself and dispassionately observe his behavior. This is a very perceptive comment. I recently read that highly self aware people can observe their actions and the conduct of others in a “non-reactive” manner. That’s why highly self aware people, the Lincoln’s of the world, are seldom ill-tempered.
Here’s some good news, that affable gene is buried in most all of us. Why don’t you allow that gene to go operational today!