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How Do You Practice Your Leadership at Christmas?

December 18, 2009

Call me a curmudgeon, but I avoid shopping at Christmas. After raising kids for the past 30 years I think I deserve a break from running the shopping mall gauntlet. I’m lucky, however, that my wife, Sue, still has the stamina and patience to do the gift buying.

Our family situation has changed. With “kids” between 20 and 30, what’s become important to Sue and me is just being able to see them on Christmas day. Our son’s heading off with his fiancé to Orlando for the second time at Christmas; one of our daughters is a paramedic who (with her long-time boyfriend, also a paramedic) works during Christmas. Someone has to save those of us who overindulge on turkey!

Our oldest daughter now lives 1,000 miles away with our granddaughters. That leaves our “baby,” who at 20 treks home from college to spend some time with us. When they were wee ones, we’d load up the car and head off to Sue’s parents to spend Christmas. Our most memorable Christmas was when our oldest was only two and there was a two-day power failure. Bringing Santa to my inlaws was an exercise in logistics of which NASA would have been proud.

So here we are today. I increasingly detest the consumer-driven hype that underlies much of the stress people face at this time of year. Added to this is the very nasty recession from which we’re just emerging (I hope that is light at the end of the tunnel and not a freight train!). If high unemployment is not bad enough, there’s the uncertainty many face concerning their retirement, kids’ education, mortgage payments, etc.

What I’m sharing is not new to people. But what I can offer is this: The sun always rises and hope is what fuels the human spirit. Without hope we have nothing. It’s akin to what a late friend said to me when I was just starting a family. Father Tom, a wonderful man who was very supportive when I decided to return to university for a Master’s degree, said to me one day: “James, without your health you have nothing.” Indeed.

At this time of year, when stress and depression reach their height and depth for many people, take a moment to reflect on what’s important in your life. Is it the 50 inch LCD TV or 400 GB laptop? Or is it being able to help someone who’s having a tough time or taking time to enjoy a get-together with your family and friends? It’s a personal decision.

For Sue and me, we’re spending Christmas with our two granddaughters.

My Christmas gift to you is a free download of my new leadership e-book from my website Leadership World

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Becoming a Holistic Leader:
Strategies for Effective Leadership Using a Principle-Based Approach

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    December 20, 2010 12:31 am

    It was nice to read about your family, Jim.

  2. December 20, 2009 1:06 pm

    What a wonderful reminder of what’s really important at Christmas and in life. Merry Christmas, Jim!

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