What Are You Thankful For?
Let’s Make 2020 a Qualitatively Better Year
I’m reminded of a quote by former President John F. Kennedy. JFK said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Such a true statement. We are judged in life by our actions not our words. Words are cheap; actions can be difficult. Trust is the key here from an ethical perspective. A trustworthy person carries through ethical intent with ethical action.
Be thankful for those in your personal life who genuinely care about your well-being. They accept you for who you are. They are non-judgmental.
Be thankful for those in your workplace who treat you fairly, help you when you need it, and give credit where credit is due.
Be thankful that your children grew up to be productive members of society. They model ethical behavior as you did in raising them.
Give thanks to all those who devote their lives in service to others. There are so many ways to help others. We should practice random acts of kindness and pay it forward whenever we can.
I have started to think about what I would be thankful for in 2020. Continued good health; loving relationships; and spending more time on fun things and less on work things – a perpetual problem for me and, I guess, many others.
I’d like to think 2020 will usher in a positive change in the nature of civic discourse in our country but I know better. That’s why I’m the “Ethics Sage.”
Incivility has become normalized in our society. From politicians who lie all the time; abuse their power; and say unkind things to football players who hit another player over the head with a helmet, we have fallen further down the ethical slippery slope in 2019.
We’re constantly reminded of how violent a country we have become whether it’s another school shooting or violence in the streets of large cities. We have a lot of people with a lot of problems that lead them to act out and harm others. We need to deal with the mental health crisis in this country and let’s hope it starts in 2020. It should start in the schools at the earliest age possible and constantly drum home the message of treating others the way we wish to be treated – The Golden Rule.
We may be approaching the point of no return in our society with respect to certain behaviors. Whether it's vaping or using opioids, all too many have become addicted to harmful substances that can prevent them from being contributing members of society. We are losing too many of the current and next generation to these sometimes deadly habits.
What makes for a good person? Simply stated, a good person is one with a high character that models ethical principles.
The other day I read about “The 10 Leadership Lessons From George Washington.” It never ceases to amaze me how our first President, and all the founders, were so insightful and driven to do the right thing. Here are the ten lessons:
- He believed in his men.
- He was a man of exemplary character.
- He treated others with the utmost respect.
- He held his men accountable.
- He loved his men.
- He placed the welfare of his men ahead of his own.
- He was personally invested in the cause.
- He did not waver from his guiding principles.
- He was a man of deep faith who demonstrated that via his actions.
- He took his responsibility seriously.
Think about these ten things. My guess is you agree with the vast majority of them as guideposts for your life. In simple terms, be respectful of others, kind to them, accept responsibility for your actions, follow ethical principles and have the courage of your convictions.
Happy Thanksgiving and peace to all.
Posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on November 26, 2019. Dr. Mintz recently published a book, Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior, that explains how doing the right thing and being a good person can enhance well-being. The book is available on Amazon. Visit his website, sign up for his newsletter, follow him on Facebook and “Like” his page.