A long time ago, someone that I hold very dear to my heart, who was like a second father to me, told me that dressing up together with a respectful attitude can definitely put you in a place where you might not get otherwise. Those two things he would often say, would take you far in life. We are, for better or worse, humans who judge on first impressions. Dressing up doesn’t mean donning a $1,500 designer suit, but rather dressing appropriately and more importantly, respectfully for the situation that you find yourself in and acting accordingly.
Today, my oldest son got a glimpse into the legal world that forms the basis of his mother’s world. We drove down to Massachusetts together to appear for a traffic ticket that he got driving home from a concert during the summer. Entering the courthouse, what I had been trying to explain to him quickly became apparent. Looking around it was easy to understand why it was so important for him to don a suit and dress appropriately for this appearance. There were folks there in sleeveless t shirts, sweatpants, some looking like they had just rolled out of bed, most very clearly not showing any respect for the court or those in it that would decide their fate, for better or worse. When addressed by court personnel, some were out and out rude, others swore and attacked the police officer who had given them their ticket, who incidentally was seated a dozen feet or so and well within earshot of their conversation. My son got to see another side of life, which I think opened his eyes to how important some of the little things are that the adults in his life have been telling him all these years. Personally, while I wouldn’t advocate running out and committing a traffic offense or criminal act, just spending a few hours in municipal or traffic court and seeing what other people go through and how good you’ve got it in a lot of respects, can give a person a great deal of perspective. It is definitely most often a long line of examples of how not to act.
Besides the attorneys and the court personnel, he was clearly the most respectfully dressed. Since I am not licensed in Massachusetts, I was only there as moral support with some legal advice thrown in for good measure. I am very proud to say that when called, he appeared alone before the magistrate and presented his side of the story. He walked out of the courtroom, with a very, very good result– a big part of which I am certain was directly attributed to his appearance, his respectful and apologetic tone and his manners. TJ referred to it as “the power of the suit”. So, bringing the story full circle, my dear mentor had he been there today, would have been very proud of my son, his demeanor and the “power of the suit”.