Forgetting to be thankful
Here we are, only two days to Thanksgiving. This is the time of year where you see the authors of op-ed pieces waxing elegantly about being thankful for any number of things. Since waxing elegantly is not my strong suit, I would like to take a slightly different take on this thankful thing. I want to pause and say thanks to things and people that I know I should be saying thank you to, but often I forget and fail to do so.
I am thankful that the Cubs won the World Series. Ok, it has been over a hundred years but heck — they did win!!!
I am thankful to my car every time it starts. The only time I remember to say thanks is when it doesn’t start, like the time it didn’t start after sitting in the Dulles parking lot for five days.
I am thankful to my garage door every time it opens on demand, and for the light that goes on automatically so I can find my way from the car to the house. Heck, I am simply thankful that I have a car that has a garage that is attached to a house. I can’t remember the last time I told my house how thankful I am for keeping me warm.
I am thankful that my colleagues in UPCEA were crazy enough to elect me as the President Elect of the Association. To be more efficient we will call it the PE. I am thankful that as the PE that I will be following in the footsteps of very astute UPCEA presidents, and I’m thankful that for whatever reason, I have the support of a great CEO and national office.
I am also most thankful that the crazies that elected me PE are also some of the most dedicated and talented professionals you can find.
You know I don’t think I’ve ever stopped and said thank you to the institution that sends me a check twice a month. Thank you, JMU, for embracing this unit called Outreach and Engagement. I should be standing on top of a building yelling thanks to all the JMU offices and personnel who have been willing to go on this thrill ride with me.
I am thankful that my boss gives me so much rope that I occasionally find myself tied in knots. I am thankful that he doesn’t hang up on me, slam the door in my face, and treat my emails as spam when I contact him over and over again with the next game-changing idea.
Like so many of you, I am thankful that I’m surrounded by a great staff — and given my shortcomings I need to be surrounded by smart people. What I’m most thankful for is not so much their smarts, their ability to be self-starters, their willingness to walk through walls to get the job done – no, I’m thankful because they are so intuitive. They don’t just listen to students, faculty, and others, they truly strive to understand what others are saying; they are truly empathic. This is something that I should stop and say thank you for on a daily basis.
On a very personal basis I am so pleased and thankful that nature trumps nurture. We have five great kids and I’m thankful that this has happened despite the fact they had to hang out with me. I’m thankful that we have three wonderful daughter-in-laws whose love for their spouses was greater than their concern about hanging out with me.
I am so thankful that we have three grandchildren (and one on the way) because they’ve given me a second chance at this nurture thing.
And I am thankful that the phrase “love is blind” is actually true. It has to be true because my wife still hangs out with me after all this time. I know it may be poor blog behavior, but thanks and I love you.
Finally, I am thankful that I am a Cubs fan because it has taught me two very good lessons: humility and how to be an eternal optimist. Thanks Cubs.
Have a great holiday.