There was a wonderfully charming movie from Ireland that came out in the late 1990s called Waking Ned Devine. There’s a very intriguing moment in the film where one of the main characters is speaking at a funeral, but he has to pretend that the deceased is his best friend, Michael, except that Michael is very much alive and seated in the room (I won’t spoil anything by explaining why). “Michael O’Sullivan was my great friend, but I don’t ever remember telling him that. The words that are spoken at a funeral are spoken too late,” are the profound words he begins his eulogy with. Later, he ends it this way: “If he was here now, if he could hear what I say, I’d congratulate him on being a great man, and thank him for being a friend.”
When I first saw this scene, I was quite inspired by this idea, and decided I wouldn’t wait to thank all the important people in my life for the things I appreciate about them. I wrote cards to my family members and a few key friends (ironically, some of them were convinced I might be dying). And as we are just past Thanksgiving here in Canada, I’m reminded freshly how important it is to take the time to say thanks to people, for things large and small.
Not only is thankfulness something we encourage in the students that are part of our programming, but it is just one component of learning to value others. Thankfulness is a great character trait, and it also is an effective means of treating others well and building relationships, and therefore building communities. Also, as an organization we’re collectively thankful to all of our volunteers, all of our donors, all of our partner organizations, and anyone who makes it possible for Thinking Forward to do what it does. To all of you – thank you very much. And to anyone considering getting involved in any of these ways – thank you in advance.