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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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