The Greatest of Virtues

Published: December 26, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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An economy in crisis, rising unemployment, mounting foreclosures, once trusted financial institutions and respected individuals involved in fraud and malfeasance by elected officials.

In such perilous and unprincipled times, it can be difficult to find gratitude much less express gratitude in our daily lives.  And yet, a recent e-mail from a colleague who works at the crossroads of media, business and politics once again reminds me to be thankful for all that I have, give and receive.

“Thanks so much for the note.

“I know we are in a recession right now, but I have decided not to participate.  I am very excited about the next 12 months. This has been a great month of transition, and there are great prospects for [our company].

“I have the distinct pleasure of working with my son, a very sharp political insider who has worked congressional campaigns, governor campaigns, and a presidential campaign as a regional political director. So the firm is shaping up to be a bifurcated company, including corporate and non-profit work that involves non-political editorial and media work (me) and political consulting and hands-on work. Very exciting stuff.

“Aside from the pleasure of working with my son, one of the things I have always wanted to do is to run my own firm, like this, but do it the right way – which is why I appreciate so much what you are doing. I am so sick of the sleaze and dirt of politics and business that, just to prove it to myself if not for any other reason, I want to do it the right way – with honesty and integrity and fairness, all the while competing with those in the same fields.

“All the polling I have seen, and my internal sensibilities, tell me that a return to ethics is what America is hungering for, and at the end of my career, I don’t really care how much I have in my bank account – though I am expecting some healthy figures. I would much rather [people] say that he was successful, and successful at doing the right thing.

“So, a long response to a bright a cheeful holiday greeting, for which I am grateful. I do indeed wish you and yours the same in return.”

The great Roman statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

Good words to not only remember but demonstrate beyond the holiday season.


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