With the holiday season well underway, I’ve been thinking a lot about family and community. I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with family, as I’ve always been lucky enough to do. While I was so grateful to be surrounded by my mom, aunt, cousins, and husband, the absence of my father and uncle were palpable — it was our first Thanksgiving without them. Spending these last few days at my parents’ house, it seems as though everywhere I look, I’m reminded of my dad. It’s as if I can still see him sitting in his favorite chair and hear exactly what he would say in response to just about every situation.
“I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.”
— Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
The Grammar Girl podcast did a great show this week on how to write an apology. For a while now, I’ve been meaning to write a post about making tough apologies, so I thought I’d piggyback on Grammar Girl’s discussion. The show advised listeners to avoid four kinds of non-apologies (the “if” apology, the passive voice apology, the reverse apology, and the florid fauxpology) and to follow a formula for apologizing effectively:
- Acknowledge the offense clearly
- Explain it effectively
- Restore the offended parties’ dignity
- Assure them they’re safe from a repeat offense
- Express shame and humility
- Make appropriate reparation
(Credit to Dr. Aaron Lazare and his book On Apology.)
In light of this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, I find it necessary to revisit the topic I addressed last weekend. Like many Americans, I am horrified by the recent rise in white supremacist, neo-Nazi activity in the US. Many people smarter than me have written eloquent pieces about what happened this weekend, and I do not pretend to have anything new or particularly insightful to say. In case there is any doubt, let me be clear where I stand: Hating, discriminating against, or threatening anyone on account of their race, ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, or gender is despicable and unacceptable. Human is human, period.
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
Ring available from ThomasBrothers on Etsy