“How did your grandmother do it?” she shouted as she turned to me with flour in her hair, 2 grandchildren hanging on to one leg, and another in her arms.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
She responded, “How did your grandmother handle all of the baking and cooking for Thanksgiving, all while dealing with all of you grabbing at her feet, fighting with each other and screaming at the top of your lungs?”
“Oh you mean, like your seven grandchildren are right now?” I asked.
“Yes, Mike, like this disaster occurring around us right now.”
“I don’t know, Ma, especially since she did a better job at cutting those apples and filling those pies than you are.”
Sharply she retorted, “You know Mike, you really have the ability to totally destroy someone’s confidence in so little words.”
“I was kidding, Ma…kidding… you know a joke?”
No smile appeared upon her face. Instead, she rolled her eyes and kept on cutting. Oh no, I really messed up this time. I didn’t even mean to hurt her. I was simply kidding around, but she wasn’t kidding when she said that I destroyed her confidence. To make matters worse, when I mentioned the conversation to my wife, she quickly interjected, “You definitely do know how to cut someone down quickly.” To be frank, this is a surprise to me. I honestly, never saw myself in this light.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been persuasive. My father had me listening to Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, Tony Robbins, The Kinder Brothers and Dale Carnegie at the age of 5. As I got older he even brought me to motivation sales conferences with him. I learned very quickly how to win friends and influence people. Would you agree, or would you prefer to take my word for it? (Notice the emphasis on the “or” as opposed to leaving things open-ended.) Nevertheless, I didn’t know this ability carried with it such a strong opportunity to tear others down as well. Considering the caliber of sales professionals whose eyes and ears my writing falls upon, I must deduce that you, my reader, can certainly relate.
As I prepare for this year’s Thanksgiving table, it has become painfully obvious that this behavior cannot continue. How can I truly be thankful for those around me without letting them know? Therefore, on this the 24th day of November, I encourage you my brothers and sisters to join me, as I firmly commit to making a change. Likewise, let this serve as my public apology to both my mother, and apparently my wife, who have both received the products of my harsh, though totally unintentional daggers.
As a child, we learned the nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” As adults, we know this is a downright lie. Our words are so powerful, even more so as we seek to focus on gratitude at this time of year. Especially this year, as there is so much to be thankful for. I mean seriously, take the NFL for example; the New York Giant’s, A.K.A. “The Good Guys”, are actually starting to figure out how to win. “Thank you Lord.” Additionally, Tony Romo, member of the “Bad Guys”, remains 2nd string quarterback. Clearly Providential! Oops, that was one of those daggers I am supposed to stop throwing. Well, it’s written at this point. No need to delete. I commit to using uplifting words, starting…..
The fact is, our lives do not need to be perfect for us to be grateful. We might be going through some very difficult family, financial and or personal times. Things might not be going according to plan, but we still can give thanks. We still can be a gift of self, or a gift of gratitude put into action for those around us.
In actuality, gratitude is a choice; a choice that honors God, dramatically transforms our countenance, and draws us deeper into His Most Beautiful and Perfect Divine Heart. That cannot happen if our words are incongruent. We must use each of our words to build up, not destroy.
This Thanksgiving, we the sales elite of One Life America, commit to building up, not tearing down. We commit and choose to encourage others, like Barnabas (see Acts 4), to use our mouths to glorify and praise God as a gift to others. We seek to call out the greatness we see, or sometimes, might not currently see, in them.
Paul reminds us, in his letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 8 to, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” What better way to start, than with the people we share this Thanksgiving table with?
“Lord, I want to possess a thankful heart. I want to be your instrument in the world. I seek to lift others up. I pray that I might totally and completely decrease so that you might increase in me. I pray that in me, others may see You. Enable me to recognize Your hand of blessing in the lives of those I encounter. Help me to express gratitude to You, by lifting You up through others. (Eph 5:19-20) May our hearts overflow with gratitude to You, God, for You are Good. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.”
Mike Rose, Jr.
Co-Owner & Executive Vice President
The Diversified Companies