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The Dean's Digest - November 2013

11/19/13 -  

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I would like to use this upcoming holiday to challenge you to deviate from the day-to-day routine in three ways.

While we are all familiar with the origin of Thanksgiving and the opportunity to give thanks for our many blessings, all too often we get hung up in the hectic pace of living and miss the chance to savor the season.

With that in mind, I would like to challenge you to give thanks for the beautiful city we live in. If you haven't already stopped and stared at the lovely color in the trees - and if any leaves remain on the trees as you read this - please do so. Maybe you have lived here in Charlotte a long time and it is not something unusual for you, but let me tell you how unusual and pretty it is.

As you know, we moved here over a year ago from South Georgia where the slash pine tree is king. Nothing against pine trees, but the diversity of tree-life in South Georgia is nowhere near what exists in Charlotte. Our falls in Georgia would have plenty of yellow and a sprinkling of red. Here there have been multiple shades of yellow, orange and red-tinted leaves. It is flat-out gorgeous. I have barely avoided driving off the side of the road while marveling at the colorful landscapes.

Now it is your turn. Look - really look - at the nature around you and you can't help but feel thankful for our little corner of the world.

Next is a challenge to touch base with everyone in your immediate family - siblings, parents, grandparents, and children - especially those who don't live in this area. The day will come when you will not be able to call them, visit them or hug them. Life is not a dress rehearsal; don't miss opportunities to connect with family. Even those family members with whom you have strained relations - let bygones be bygones and start anew.

Finally, let's be thankful for all the freedoms we enjoy. Freedom of thought, mobility, dress, housing, consuming, driving, behavior (to some extent), and on and on it goes. Mostly because the Pilgrims persevered through incredible hardships centuries ago to survive and prosper. When the good times came, they stopped and gave thanks for their blessings.

Despite all the challenges we face as individuals and as a nation, we still experience plenty of good times and we are incredibly fortunate to be living in the 21st century. The final challenge is to not let this Thanksgiving holiday pass without reflecting on your blessings and giving thanks.

As always, we'd love to hear from you, we'd love to meet you for coffee some morning, and we would love for you to subscribe to the McColl School blog. It's your move!

Ron Shiffler


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