“Tis the season”

11/18/2013

Good Sunday morning,

It is the beginning of Thanksgiving week. It is but a brief two days of classes before the anticipated Thanksgiving holidays are here. Grocery shopping has noticeably increased and will continue apace here and across the country in the coming days. It is a time for family, friends, food and, for many, football. It also is the launch of the holiday season which stretches into the first hours of 2013. Sandwiched in the midst of all this are term projects, recitals, holiday programs, Winterglow, final exams and fall commencement. Life here at UCO will run at full throttle until the last graduate crosses the stage at Hamilton Fieldhouse at the last ceremony on December 15th.

But this week we will savor this American holiday tradition of giving thanks for our blessings, be they family, friends, mentors or opportunities. It is a time to reach out and include those who may be far from their homes, who may need a helping hand and heart just at this moment. This is a time when we should be particularly mindful of those in need. And they are all around us.

We are fortunate that our Lessons in Leadership speaker this week understands the importance of taking care of each other. Jari Askins has served this state with distinction as Lt. Governor and as a recognized leader across a spectrum of state issues. Her experience and insights are valuable to us as we continue to define the lessons in leadership offered by each of our special guests. We look forward to her Tuesday presentation.

Two final thoughts.

The Middle East, already in turmoil via the momentous changes collectively known as the Arab Awakening and via the 18 month long civil war in Syria, shook once again as serious violence erupted between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. The possibility of further escalation of the fighting and possible spillover effects on other parts of the region are real. Beyond the hourly reports of rocket attacks and bombings are the intense diplomatic efforts underway to bring the overt conflict of a close and to restore the tense calm that had prevailed prior to this eruption. This is a multi-layered conflict still seeking permanent resolution.

If you enjoy films as the unique entertainment, teaching, learning medium that they can be, I recommend that you see “Lincoln” currently playing in the Metro. This production focuses on the last four months of the 14th US President’s life and the political processes that led to the passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution which ended slavery in the USA. There are multiple lessons in leadership to be extracted from this stirring interpretation of those events. This Steven Spielberg film draws extensively from “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a compelling tale of that momentous era in US history. In times of challenge, there is no substitute for effective leadership.

See you on Tuesday for L in L. My best wishes to you your friends and family for a peaceful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.

Don Betz