Thanksgiving and Ratios

High five with Brian and StudentMy family is hosting their Thanksgiving a week later than most (this coming weekend). And while my focus narrows to myopic when I’m at the table (“What’s the proper ratio of cranberry-derived to stuffing-derived carbohydrates to induce a restful coma?”), recently writing a quick email to say “thank you” forced a bit of perspective.

It wasn’t the email itself, either—it was the act of typing the names—that prompted a bout of reflection. Nearly 40 people received an email saying thanks. That’s a good start on filling two premiership soccer rosters, or a great size for a cocktail party. Each name, typed individually called up conversations and debates, reflections and suggestions. Each name represented an individual that set aside time to dream big and critique small with me over coffee, beers, or breakfast.

There’s an important group that didn’t get my email, though. The kids in Zambia with which I spent time this summer. Despite the out-sized role they’ve played in my personal growth and development, they don’t have email addresses to which I can send thanks. Hopefully they know their power and impact, though. Hopefully my gratitude comes through in the strengthened education, nutrition, and health services my volunteer experience continues to impact.

While it may have been a short email of thanks, the list of recipients was long (if incomplete). And maybe that’s the ratio that should steal my attention this Thanksgiving: a short thank you to a long list.

I know that in the quiet after Thanksgiving dinner, while I artfully balance between wakefulness and a contented doze, and as my mind drifts back to the work of the next weeks and months, I will think of these people and how they’ve helped shape me and my nascent organization…

…and how great it would be to get them all together and throw a one helluva cocktail party.


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