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Christmas past, present and yet to come

Sharing valuable life lessons for the next generation

I HAVE LOST A SENSE OF TIME. It seems like I look up and everything around has changed. As we approach Christmastime and continue our efforts to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had a reality check on how fast time moves. 

My daughter, Alyssa, graduated from college twice during the pandemic and has been job hunting over the past few months. I am so proud of her commitment and perseverance to keep moving forward during such an uncertain time. I am writing this on the same day that she finally landed her first full-time job. 

Many of you likely have experienced similar emotions as your children begin to forge their way in this wonderful yet sometimes unforgiving world. 

How did this beautiful young woman grow up so fast? I remember the Christmas mornings when baby dolls were all she wanted and all she needed. My favorite time was waking up on Christmas morning and seeing her face light up at the gifts and then spending the morning cooking French toast with her. 

I now find myself giving her advice on navigating the working world. It has made me think of the best advice that I have received, which I passed on to her: 

  1. Treat everyone with respect. 
  2. Write thank you notes to people who have helped you. 
  3. Arrive early. 
  4. Do the jobs that others won’t. 
  5. Stay true to who you are. 
  6. Truly listen to people who have done the job for a long time. 
  7. Have balance in your life. 

Many of those seven items that have been the foundation for my life were passed on to me from my father and grandfather. When you grow up on a small farm during the Great Depression, you learn some valuable life lessons that resonate through your life. The lessons from my grandfather and the work ethic he showed have been important to me and I am so blessed to be able to pass them down to his great-granddaughter today. 

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