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A Holiday Message from Jeff Van Fleet

Dear all,

It’s been some kind of year.  I know that many of us have had a lot of pain this year, from losing loved ones, losing our jobs, and trying to adapt to minimal human interaction.  I, for one, am a pretty touchy-feely guy, and really miss being able to hug my Mom (who is quarantined in her Assisted Living Center), my brothers and their families, our employees, and our many good friends.  I am learning to adapt, but like you, sometimes I’m better adjusted than at other times.

In addition to the impact of COVID-19, there has also been a lot of tension and divisiveness.  As leaders, parents, family members, and friends, we need to find a better way. I guess we don’t need to but shouldn’t we set an example and strive for better?  For me, I am choosing to look for the positives in my friends and family, in our country, and in myself.  As I do this more consistently, I realize that I am feeling better – that I’m more upbeat and enjoying life.  I believe that I need to stay centered and positive for myself before I can even think about helping others.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not perfect about this, but I’m leaning forward and being intentional every day.

As I lean in, I am reminded about the Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  That quote has always resonated with me and for years has reminded me that I need to start with me.  To prepare this blog, I was doing some research, and as it turns out, what Gandhi actually said was, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.”  Hmmm.  This actual quote is even more powerful.  It says to me:

  • If we would change ourselves, we will see in others these same positive tendencies
  • As you improve yourself, the world will begin to change to recognize the new you
  • Start now … don’t wait.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy Boxing Day. Regardless of your beliefs, my wish for you and your families is that you have hope, you look for joy, you are surrounded by loved ones (even virtually), and you take time to appreciate.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite Christmas quotes:

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps… means a little bit more!
-Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our families, to yours!

The Van Fleet Family

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