On Giving Thanks in a Painting

Steve Ellis Thoughts Comments

As earnest as we are at this time of year about giving thanks, there’s always the self-imposed pressure to climb inside a Norman Rockwell painting and do it from there.Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

But the danger in accepting nothing shy of poetic standards for ourselves comes from the age-old cliché about perfectionism. In short, without the sparkling white tablecloth, perfectly browned bird, ultra-crisp celery stalks and complete, smiling family unit, maybe we have less for which to give thanks.

Not so.

Life is bumpy—more like the hard, jagged, uneven chunks of chocolate chips than the smooth, vanilla ice cream itself. The Ben & Jerry’s cone I had last weekend was a perfect (okay…almost perfect) metaphor. As award-winning luxury custom home builders, we go to unimaginable lengths to ensure that things go right. And we’re grateful when they do. But given the humanness of almost any process, we know we must stand by patiently to retool anything or redirect anyone not entirely on course.

Mom Ellis preparing the Thanksgiving turkey circa 1960's

Mom Ellis preparing the Thanksgiving turkey circa 1960’s

We’ve learned while it’s hard enough to strive for excellence, it may be harder, still, to show forbearance route to that goal. Sometimes it takes practice, but everybody wins.

When your staff, colleagues, vendors, friends, spouse or children come up short, are you grateful for their efforts anyway? Do you thank them for their willingness to try and try again? Their agreement to learn and patience with you (yes, you!) in the process? Are you thankful out loudthat they are even in your life so that you can absorb something of value from them if you listen really hard, or sometimes even hardly at all? When we are feeling thankful, life is good!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.