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g21
11-25-2009, 11:24 AM
Hello everyone,
I wanted to take this time to not only wish all of you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving, but want to pose a small challenge to you this Holliday season. Though this is for everyone, I want to particularly talk to the younger members. It's so easy for all of use to get caught up in the importance of growing our businesses and achieving that "American Dream". We certainly have become a very materialistic society - it's caught me up in it and now I watch my children fall victim to it as well. I was growing my business at my prime during the Reagan years, the YUPI period. The more you had, the bigger it was - the better!

Now I have been very fortunate in my life so far. I have never lost a loved-one in my immediate family. My parents are still alive and healthy as are my siblings. So I had never known the tragedy of losing someone who was well - a part of you. But in 1986, right in the middle of my blooming career as an entrepreneur, I'll never forget the call of panic I received from my wife while I was cutting a lawn. Screaming in utter terror. "Get to the hospital - Hurry! Frankie Had a Seizure - He's Not Breathing - I Did The Best I can!" Leaving my equipment where it laid, I bolted down the highway at over 100 mph during the longest 15 minutes of my life. During that ride, I can remember pleading with God, first to forgive every bad thing I had every done. But then begging, no I think it was a little more like demanding that he take me instead of my little Frankie. If it wasn't my life, than I was begging for him to take every last possession and give me a life of poverty. I was pleading my case and trying to give away everything I had, including my life for the exchange of my 2-year-old son. Well, he heard my plea and Frank would be fine - never having another episode. Obviously God had plans for young Frank as he would go on to finish law school at the early age of 23.

Oh so much time has passed since that day I made a vow of poverty. Did that change me? Oh for a season or so. But I continued on my path of acquiring more stuff. Boats, jet skis, bigger boats, bigger houses - of course being the salesman that I am, I made sure God always know why I was working so hard for these things - you know, for the betterment of the family! It wasn't for me - it was for them!

Well, two years ago, my older son Tommy has having trouble with this pesky flu, as though it seemed. He just couldn't kick it as it continued to get worse and make him weaker. Finally one day when it brought him to his knees, we rushed him to the hospital. They hydrated him and diagnosed that it was a bad virus and that he would be fine. But Tommy and I both had a bad feeling about it. This is one of the strongest kids you'll ever meet. And both of us knew that no virus was going to bring him down to his knees like that. But with optimism in our hearts, the very next day we went to our family doctor who is also a good friend. That will be a day I truly will never forget. When the doc looked into our eyes after receiving the blood work report and explained that he was all but certain that Tommy had Leukemia. Having to look into that 22 year-old boys eyes and see utter fear will stay burnt in my mind forever. I dropped the family off at the house and drove off. The first thing I did was pull off into a local shopping plaza parking lot. I shut off my truck -and wept like a baby. And then started my sales pitch. Pleading with God to take all of my possessions. "Lord, you didn't take them before when you made Frankie better - but this time you MUST! I even have more to offer this time Lord!" I made my best case, cleaned myself up and proceeded to make plans just incase God had a "different" plan this time. Being 22, Tommy loved cars like no other. And he wanted a new Dodge Challenger so bad - along with other things any 22 year-old wants. I was going to sell every possession I had, buildings, trucks, even the business to give him everything he wanted before he left us. Nothing was going to stop me.

Well, three days later while meeting with a cancer specialist, the doctor came back from his lab, report in hand, and said - "Good news. He doesn't have cancer." It turned out to be a deep-seated flu-like virus that had his white blood-cell count so low, it gave the appearance of cancer. They said that if he werenít such a strong kid, it would have brought him down months earlier.

Well, I still have an un-defeated record. My family's in tact and healthy. So many of us are certainly not so fortunate. So what's the message? Why to the younger guys out there? Because I want you all to know that no matter how much stuff you acquire. No matter how big you grow your business. You will beg to give it away in times of real trial. When you are out there growing you businesses Ė donít do it at the sacrifice of time with your family. Hold tight to the people that are dear to you and squeeze every last drop out of the time you have with them. Take the time to coach, to umpire, to be at your daughters dance recitals. Trust me on one thing Ėthe period of time you spend growing your company seems to never end. Itís the longest thing you will ever encounter. But the time you get to spend with your parents, your wife, your kids Ė itís literally a blink of an eye. And itís over. The business will be there forever.

I know that many of donít have an un-defeated record. That you have lost a loved one. And giving thanks may not seem so instinctive right now. So I want to challenge all of you do one thing this holiday. I mean really dedicate this holiday to one single thing Ė REFLECTION. Look at your life and just reflect on Godís grace. The wonderful things and people he has given you. Yes, some may not be around any longer. But reflect on the influence they had on your life. And more important, reflect on what you have in front of you. The things you can control. The people you can influence. Got teenagers? It gets better! They do come around and become your best friends. Donít give up on them.

And one more thing. I said I never lost anyone in my immediate family. But I have lost people who were very dear to me. Friends, ants, uncles, grandparents. One thing that always seems to happen to me. I have these special people in my life that were very influential to me. Most donít even know how much they influenced me. Thatís because of the type of people they were. They led by example. The way they lived served as a kind of fixed model that was always there when I needed it. But of course I never told them that. I took it for granted that they would always be there. And then when their gone or their so sick that they are not cognicent enough for me to even explain it to them Ė I lose that opportunity to tell them how special they were and how much they meant to me. So this Holiday Ė tell that someone just how special they are and what they have meant to you. If you are like me and sometimes just canít get up the courage to tell that someone Ė drop them a card or a letter. Heck last mothers day, I had to send my Mom a video of me telling just how much she means to me because I just canít find the words (or the courage) when Iím in front of her. Stupid, I know. But at least she knows.


Tomorrows more than a good meal Ė so much more. Lets Reflect. Lets really give thanks!

Tommy

DeereMan85
11-25-2009, 01:13 PM
Great post!

mowerbrad
11-25-2009, 02:35 PM
Awesome post Tommy!!! That should get everyone who reads it something to think about.

ElephantNest
11-25-2009, 04:37 PM
Thanks for the post, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well.

1993lx172
11-25-2009, 05:50 PM
Thanks for the post, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well.

X2 on that one

MOturkey
11-25-2009, 07:32 PM
Great post. It is so easy to forget the truly important things in life, and, unfortunately, many of us don't realize what they are until they are gone. Thanks for sharing, and may you and yours have a great holiday. Neill

zturncutter
11-25-2009, 08:02 PM
Excellent post, lots to consider. I read it earlier in my inbox, just read the entire post again. Happy Thanksgiving.

mowisme
11-25-2009, 08:23 PM
Amen to that Tommy..You said it very well! Listen well you younger guys- and some older ones..Tommy speaks the Truth.

SchnabelLawnCare
11-25-2009, 09:24 PM
Thank you Tommy! You have given us a lot to think about, and appreciate.

mruiz
11-25-2009, 09:30 PM
Thumbs Up Thumps Up Post!!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

lifetree
11-25-2009, 09:55 PM
Tommy -- Happy Thanksgiving ... and a good future !!