The Human Factor

As much as I would love to dedicate this week's article to tales of spiked eggnog, mistletoe, and other holiday shenanigans, I can't help but feel compelled to mention the event that continues to be on everyone's minds. The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. What took place in Connecticut this past weekend I consider to be an unconscionable evil. The innocence of the victims pulled at every heartstring in America and our nation held their breath watching our president interrupt the morning news to deliver a speech that would, hopefully, show leadership and offer unity for the brokenhearted.

If you were watching TV or even listening live on the radio, then you witnessed a moment that, at least to me, was one of the most striking emotional points of the week. Our president, the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world and whose face is so recognizable, teared up and had to take at least three deep breaths to collect himself while trying to offer solace along with support to the parents and family members of the victims. Why so shaken? Perhaps it's because he is a father.

Think about it; when we look to the leaders in our lives do we acknowledge the human factor? The president of our nation, your boss, your professor, your landlord. All of the people who might play a role and hold a title that represents authority or power are also parents, children or spouses to someone.

I don't know about you, but I often find myself managing a very love/hate relationship with the holiday season. There’s so much going on and people can be pretty wound up. The drivers are more aggressive (hello, parking lot chaos), there are plenty of end-of-year deadlines looming at the office, and I tend to feel resentful of everyone that wants or needs something from me. This process can lead to angst, impatience, and frustration with those around me during the merriest time of the year. In the words of Alanis Morissette, "Isn't it ironic?"

The silver lining, albeit a dull one in contrast to all that has taken place, is that on Friday afternoon I stopped in my tracks and empathized with our president as he had a moment in which he had to collect himself at the thought that one of his young daughters could have been victim to the news headline of the day. He's human and he's a father. He weeps at the thought of burying his children.

So this holiday season, as you feel inclined to honk your horn at the person that sits too long at the red light or to swear under your breath about your boss demanding final projects be delivered before you leave for vacation, take a moment and remember that we’re all human at the end of the day. And the true intention of this season is to reflect on the year that has passed with gratitude and love for those that made it a bit brighter, while also celebrating the beginning of a new year with hope and optimism. With that in mind, I wish you all a very happy holiday season and may your days be filled with loved ones, cheer, and thoughts of gratitude.

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