Monday, January 06, 2014
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Or is even the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” enough to make you feel discouraged? I’ve made my fair share. I am going to publicly share one of mine for 2014. Ready? Here it is:
Write more Thank You notes.
I’m not particularly bad at this; I just want to be better. Being a words of affirmation guy myself, I enjoy doling gracious words out to people I love - family, friends, or neighbors - who have selflessly done something for me or my family. (A thank you note seems like the very least I could do for somebody who invites our family of 10 over for dinner. I mean, really. Who does that? Only the saintliest of folks.) But I want to be more conscious of doing it. Even devoting just a few minutes to it changes my perspective and broadens my view of how good I have it - to be surrounded by people who are generous with their time, consideration, cupboards, talents, finances, or words. I want to be more dedicated to looking at the gifts in my life and expressing thanks that they are there.
I found a few examples online of Thank You Notes that made me smile.
Here’s one from Conan O’Brien, which I found to be a wonderful combination of kind and funny.
Dear Nikki -
Thanks for your very flattering offer. It's great to know I have such a devoted fan out there, and I'm sure you would make a great prom date (I didn't go to mine - it's a very sad story).
Unfortunately, I got married recently and my wife doesn't allow me to go to proms anymore with cute 16 year old girls. Still, it was very cool of you to ask me. Thanks and have a great evening.
Look at this one from President Obama. How cool that he was reading with his daughter. And how cool that the took a moment to convey his gratitude and appreciation for the work. The author personally noted, "What amazes me is the gratuity of it. As you would know, there is a large measure of calculation in what public figures do. But here, what does he gain? I’m not a US citizen. In no way can I be of help to President Obama. Clearly he did it for personal reasons, as a reader and as a father. And in two lines, what an insightful analysis of Life of Pi. Bless him, bless him."
Mr. Martel —
My daughter and I just finished reading Life of Pi together. Both of us agreed we prefer the story with animals.
It is a lovely book — an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.
This one from President Reagan actually pulled on my heart strings a bit. It’s to a broader audience - the American public. Personally, I felt his genuine gratitude for the opportunity to be of service. I think what got me though was the image of a man on the threshold of decent. Still with all his faculties, but completely aware that his health - physical and mental - are fading and will soon evanesce. And the effect of that on his loved ones. And yet he is still gracious and wanting to offer thanks. I really liked that.
My fellow Americans,
I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.
Upon learning this news, Nancy and I had to decide whether as private citizens we would keep this a private matter or whether we would make this news known in a public way.
In the past, Nancy suffered from breast cancer and I had cancer surgeries. We found through our open disclosures we were able to raise public awareness. We were happy that as a result many more people underwent testing. They were treated in early stages and able to return to normal, healthy lives.
So now we feel it is important to share it with you. In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clear understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.
At the moment, I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done. I will continue to share life's journey with my beloved Nancy and my family. I plan to enjoy the great outdoors and stay in touch with my friends and supporters.
Unfortunately, as Alzheimer's disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.
In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.
I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.