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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. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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