Monday, December 27, 2010

"Schnapps"



Here’s a Monday message to start this last week of 2010.

Everywhere I went last week I saw people carrying gift bags into stores and businesses – everyone was giving gifts to family, friends, colleagues, casual acquaintances and even those they didn’t know personally but knew they were in need. This reminded me of when I was a kid and my father would buy several dozen bottles of “schnapps” (that’s how he referred to all types of liquor) and give them to his best customers.  He’d buy the bottles, package them in colorful bags or boxes, carefully fill out the to and from information on those little note cards and then load them all into his car for delivery.  As the youngest, I would sometimes get to accompany him as he visited these customers and expressed his thanks. The warmth and sincerity of these visits and the feeling behind the giving impressed me because these were not only the friends and family that I knew from my childhood; this gift giving was a whole lot more inclusive than that. And from this I learned that everyone matters when it comes to saying “thanks”.

From this simple practice I learned several things:

•    Treat your family like friends and your friends like family
•    You shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to let people know that you care
•    Simple gestures mean a lot
•    A “thank you” goes a long way

So, from these lessons comes the real meaning of this holiday season. It’s a time to be thankful for all that we have, to be mindful of what having family and friends means and to never overlook or take for granted those around you who give and mean so much to you. Take time today to make sure you’ve expressed these sentiments to all who matter. And if you haven’t, well it’s not too late because it’s never too late to let someone know that you care.

My message this week has to do with actively participating in the things you do:

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” -George Jean Nathan

George Jean Nathan (1882 – 1958) was an American drama critic and editor.  He graduated from Cornell University in 1904, where he was an editor of The Cornell Daily Sun. Noted for the erudition and cynicism of his reviews, Nathan was an early champion of Eugene O’Neill and co-authored with H.L. Mencken.

Elections are the ultimate form of participation and Nathan is right about the effects of not voting. The same can be said about participating at work: think what might happen if you do not get involved and make suggestions, if you hang back and let other less qualified people struggle without your assistance, if you look the other way when mistakes are made or if there are questions that you fail to answer completely. If you do not participate fully in these kinds of situations they might not turn out as well as they could or should. If you do not do all you can then you’ll always wonder if your participation might have helped improve things. Make a commitment starting today to get fully involved and then actively participate in the things that are happening in your world.  Don’t allow bad things to possibly happen because you didn’t.

Happy Holidays and Stay Well!

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