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Lucas: Maintaining your Thanksgiving state of mind

Kelly Lucas
November 23, 2011
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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

EidtPerspLucas-sigIt is that time of year – the time when we are reminded to be thankful for all that is good in our lives. If you are sitting at your desk at work, in a comfortable chair at home, or even in a waiting room while reading this, chances are you have good reasons to be thankful.

But it occurs to me this time every year that it is a bit odd that we need a holiday to remind us to count our blessings. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big turkey dinner as much as the next gal and don’t get me started on the thrill of Black Friday shopping. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could recognize the benefit of extending that “attitude of gratitude,” as Quality of Life columnist Jonna Kane MacDougall calls it, throughout the year? And if you’re a person who says to yourself, “But what’s in that for me?” as Jonna explains in her column below, research has shown that a positive attitude can actually boost your immune system. Now, one less cold this winter would be something to be thankful for, wouldn’t it?

Perception plays a big role in our ability to be grateful. The way we approach life impacts how we perceive the world around us. If you are a person who makes New Year resolutions, consider getting Dr. Kent M. Keith’s book: “Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments.” Written for high school students as a leadership guide in the late 1960s, the book has now been published in many languages and was reportedly posted by Mother Teresa on a wall in a children’s home in Calcutta.

Read Keith’s paradoxical commandments. If you aren’t ready to make that big of a commitment, you don’t even have to read the entire book (which would literally take the average person an hour or two). Just read the commandments. One I try to take to heart is No. 4: “The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.” I think that reminds us to not only do things for others, but to also live in the moment.

It is amazing how much happier people seem to feel when they are spending their time focused on doing good for others. They are those who’ve moved from the realm of “planning” to “doing.” There is an inspirational sign often seen in stores and coffee shops that reads “The smallest deed always exceeds the grandest of intentions.” I don’t know who to credit that thought to, but I’ll bet that person was thankful for the life he or she was living, and was probably “paying it forward.”

Let me leave you with Paradoxical Commandment No. 7: “People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.” On page 7, Indiana Lawyer reporter Jenny Montgomery conveys the story of a college student in Indiana who came to this country as a child and is an undocumented immigrant, but was working hard and on the path to building a good life here. An immigration-related law that took effect in Indiana this year has derailed her efforts.

Our system isn’t perfect. Clearly, we must have and enforce laws. But in the spirit of the pilgrims – this country’s first immigrants – perhaps we can work together to find a better approach that will serve everyone, top dogs and underdogs alike.

Happy Thanksgiving!•

Opinions: Readers may offer opinions concerning Indiana Lawyer stories and other legal issues. Readers may respond immediately by viewing the “submissions” section on our website: www.theindianalawyer.com. We reserve the right to edit letters for space requirements and to reproduce letters on the IL website and online databases. Direct letters to editor Kelly Lucas at klucas@ibj.com or 41 E. Washington St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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