On gratitude and giving thanks

This column is being written shortly after citizens of Canada celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, and it will reach you not long before citizens of the U.S. celebrate our Thanksgiving. With that in mind, I'll share a tidbit from my personal life.

Nov 1st, 2015

By Patrick Mclaughlin

This column is being written shortly after citizens of Canada celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, and it will reach you not long before citizens of the U.S. celebrate our Thanksgiving. With that in mind, I'll share a tidbit from my personal life.

When my son became a teenager in 2014 I commented to my (Facebook) friends that I know he has what it takes to get through his teenage years. What remains to be seen is whether or not I have what it takes to get through his teenage years. A few weeks ago he had an argument with his sister who's six years his junior, and received some appropriate discipline. (It was appropriate because I said it was, darn it.) Once the combatants were separated and I spoke with him one-on-one, he voiced his dissatisfaction with the fact that even though he and his sister participated equally in the argument, his discipline was more severe than hers. He spoke three words I've heard many times: "It's not fair."

Channeling my inner President Carter, I responded, "Life's not fair." Detecting a proverbial teachable moment, I continued: "You know what's not fair? The fact that you and I were born in this country, with all that it offers and all the opportunities we have. And right now some boy is being born in a country where there's no water. He's not going to live to be two years old because there's more disease than food where he is. That's not fair.

"No, life isn't fair, and 99.9 percent of the time that unfairness works in your favor. So the 0.1 percent of the time it works against you, think long and hard before complaining about it."

Did my rant change his mind, or his heart? I have no idea. He's a teenager. He doesn't talk to me unless he absolutely has to.

So why do I share this "TMI" story about an exchange with my son? Because I meant what I said to him, and I try to live each day with the gratitude that should accompany this reality. I fail often. But I try again the next day.

You, reader of Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine, are rightfully within my circle of gratitude. The professional work you do enables communication and collaboration, some of which truly makes the world a better place. And your charitable giving, much of which is discreet but some visible in the form of groups like BICSI Cares, offers support for those to whom life really has been unfair. Please know that I'll be thankful for your efforts this Thanksgiving day. And every day.

Patrick McLaughlin
Chief Editor
patrick@pennwell.com

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