Don’t Ignore Those Closest To You

One day you’ll wake up and be out of time.

“I am so thankful for my parents – how they helped make me who I am today.”

I’m sitting in a classroom and conversation of the value of hard work comes up. My classmates are each professional here to grow as leaders. The woman behind me is proud but pauses after giving her parents credit for the adult she now represents.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever told my parents that,” she said.

Isn’t it odd how we’ll easily share praise and credit on others, but many times, when we think about it, we realize we’ve never done the same with those same people? It is as if while we value the important role others play in our lives, we neglect to let them know how thankful we are for them in our lives.

Another student, now an entrepreneur, follows up by mirroring similar feelings.

“My parents, who were both immigrants and teachers with full-time jobs, started their own business on the side – and we all worked the business.”

Her voice bursts with pride, not for herself, but for her parents. Her voice is filled with love, admiration, and appreciation for the foundation her parents instilled in her.

She mentions how she never received an allowance, but had to work for every dollar. She jokes they’d put her to work answering the phones as soon as she learned to talk.

“You know,” she said. “I’m not sure I’ve ever thanked them either.”

Most of us wake up each day and spend it carelessly. Not that we are wasteful, but we tend to focus on the little things – appointments on the calendar, remembering to pick up the dry cleaning, or catching up on a missed episode of a favorite television show about people we’ve never met. We’re not callused, but rather underappreciating the evaporation of time. Time, we find, runs us.

But the reality is each of us will run out of time, leaving behind a long list of things we never completed, attempted, or left said to the most important people in our lives. As the old saying goes, we’re not getting out of this alive.

The classroom is filled with strong, successful, but remarkably well-grounded individuals. Each humble, modest in self-evaluation, and willing to help and give credit to others.

But like many, they’re admittedly shorting those they value the most – and they are not alone. For many of us, we’re probably more generous with our word to acquaintances than to those who we leave a powerful black hole in our lives when they are gone. A kind word here, a gentle gesture there. But beyond the passing of a greeting card, do we ever really take the time to sit down with the most important people in our lives and let them know how much they mean to us? If not, what are we waiting for?

Today put life on pause and say thank you. Someone will be glad you did.



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