10 Lessons Learned From My President

Each President of the United States leaves a legacy. As President Barack Obama enters the last week of his tenure in the White House, his legacy is only just beginning to show itself. But I can say with confidence that these 10 lessons are takeaways that will endure:

10. Never lose hope.

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9. Reading is essential for opening your mind, expanding your worldview, and giving you the depth and breadth to handle an infinite number of situations.

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8. The umbrella is big enough to fit everyone under it.

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7. Grit and resilience are keys to success, whatever you do.

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6. Kindness and respect never go out of style.

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5. Do not be afraid to show your emotions … even if it means crying sometimes.

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4. There are different perspectives to most issues … work hard to understand each one.

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3. Maintain your sense of humor, even under the most trying of times.

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2. Raising your children is one of the most important jobs you will ever have in life. Never lose sight of that.

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And since, as the saying goes, behind every great man there is a great woman … and better yet in this case, beside every great man there is a great woman ….

  1. When they go low, you must go high.

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Thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Obama.  You have honored the White House and our country with your grace and vision these past eight years.  You will be missed.  Let us return the favor by continuing to stand up for what is right, and doing it with respect and an openness to truly trying to understand all sides of the issues.  We have more in common than not; it is in our best interests to continue and try to move forward together, no matter how difficult and arduous it may be … while at the same time not letting our guard down and failing to speak out against injustice, inequity, and matters that harm the greater good.

Yes, we can. Yes, we did. And, yes, we will again.

~ Kat

Kat’s W.R.G.*: Civility and Compassion

* Weekly Reflection of Gratitude!

While I still encourage you to join in the challenge I issued earlier, to post your “30 Days of Blessings, Condensed” this month, the day after the election is a good day to reflect.  Our nation remains deeply divided – this is not something new to the past four years, although the venomous tone has increased dramatically during that time. While I am grateful for our freedom of speech, let that speech be tempered with compassion and civility.

President John Kennedy made this statement during his inaugural address in the context of world relations, but it applies equally to relations within our borders:

“So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, from his 1961 Inaugural Address (full text of that address can be found here)

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“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ciao! ~ Kat

Kat’s Weekly Reflection of Gratitude: The Privilege of Voting

One of the only blessings coming from Hurricane Sandy is a brief respite from the usual tenor of political campaigns at this juncture, with the election for President of the United States now only a few days away.  Other important offices, at the federal, state and local levels, are up for grabs in this election, as well.  In many states, important constitutional amendment questions are posed to the electorate, in some cases asking the populace to forever determine constitutional rights of others in our society.

Whatever your political affiliation — whether you swing left or right, red or blue, or like many, somewhere in the middle — spend the next few days educating yourself on the candidates and the issues that are going to present themselves on your ballot.  Really educate yourselves . . . I am not talking about reviewing the latest Facebook updates, tweets on Twitter or, as entertaining as it is, relying on the Daily Show as your sole source of political discernment.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd U.S. President)

Our sound bite society needs to spend some real time reviewing reliable, fact-based analysis of the critical issues facing our nation and communities as we decide for whom and for what we should vote.  (FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center is one source for bipartisan fact-checking on a variety of ads, issues, and often what are urban legends.)

The Lincoln Memorial ~ Washington, D.C.
The Lincoln Memorial ~ Washington, D.C.

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” ~ Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S. President)

Voting is a privilege that we should hold sacred.  Our vote is our voice in an election, no matter how quiet or small we may feel at times.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” ~ Alice Walker

Crop Art from the 2012 Minnesota State Fair
Crop Art from the 2012 Minnesota State Fair

Every vote counts.  Every vote matters.  If you have not participated in early voting, exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, November 6th.

“Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ciao! ~ Kat