For me, Thanksgiving has so many memories of my own family. I remember the last Thanksgiving I had with my Dad, who died suddenly of a heart attack a few weeks later. I remember the first Thanksgiving with my new little girl, Meredith; my wife and I were in a constant state of sleep deprivation and my sister was kind enough to invite us over. We just sort of slumped on their big comfy couch, while my sister and her mother-in-law took over, fed us and showered Meredith with attention. I remember my first Thanksgiving in law school- I skipped the family event, and studied and outlined furiously, ever mindful of impending finals, about which I could only shudder in fear as I anticipated how difficult they might be.
Even with all my Thanksgiving memories, it's so easy to slip into the Thanksgiving holiday without really recognizing its purpose. We have Thanksgiving because we are thankful. And yet, many of us never take the time to introspect and articulate exactly what we are thankful for. I decided that I would not let this Thanksgiving pass without such introspection and articulation, and that is the purpose of this particular blog post.
I apologize in advance, because what I'm about to say avoids political correctness. Instead, I am simply going to tell you what I am thankful for and why I am thankful for it. And I am going to tell you to whom I am thankful. I fully recognize that some readers may not share my beliefs, however, they are my beliefs. And as they used to say about television, "If you don't like the show, you can always change the channel." I certainly appreciate my readership. But unlike my typical blog post, which is designed to assist those considering and enrolled in law school, this post is
First things first. To whom am I thankful? I am thankful to God- I don't mean my "higher power" or a god in an abstract sense. I mean a very specific God. The God I'm talking about is the God described by Moses in the Old Testament, who in the second element of his Trinity and as described in the New Testament, assumed human form (as Jesus of Nazareth) and was ultimately crucified in what was arguably the most barbaric execution devised by man. I am thankful to God that he sent Jesus and I believe that this crucifixion paid the price for my sins (as well as the sins of all of mankind) in order to forever reunite mankind with him. I also believe that we receive this free gift of salvation by believing in this Jesus as one's saviour. Jesus is called the Christ, because his visit to Earth was predicted repeatedly in the Old Testament, by prophets who predicted that a messiah would come to save the world (arguably from itself, but equally from the stranglehold that sin has over mankind).
As a result, everything that I have and everything that I am, I am thankful for these things to God. And the best part is that it seems like pretty much every day I have new things for which to be thankful.
The part I just described is not random. It is very specific and guided by my faith and the Holy Spirit (the third part of the Trinity, which to Christians dwells within and guides us when we let him; sort of a "super-consciousness with benefits".) Now that you understand the object of my thanksgiving, I want to share with you what I am thankful for. This part may get a bit random, because I am thinking about it as I write it.
The obvious one is my wife, Beth. I am thankful for her and for everything that she does. She is the absolute picture of selflessnes- she takes care of me and our two girls with all of the love and zeal that any mother could have. And I am thankful for my two girls, Meredith and Lauren- clear and obvious gifts from God.
I am thankful for my legal career. If you've read my blog, you know that I always wanted to be a lawyer. It took me a while, but I became one. I benefited from an world-class legal education at Vanderbilt, which enhanced the world-class business education I received at the University of Texas. I am also thankful that I am able to make a living as a lawyer- in today's economy, no easy feat. I work for a great company, VF Corporation (a large apparel company- the North Face, Wrangler, Jansport, Reef, Vans, seven for all mankind, and other incredible brands). I work for and with great people- Scott Baxter is the President of the subsidiary I work for, and he has been an incredible friend and supporter. He is also one of the smartest businesspeople I have ever met. Candace Cummings, General Counsel of VF Corporation is a great boss and one of the best lawyers I have ever worked with. In short, I work for a great company, populated by great people.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to write my book, "Law School Labyrinth- A Guide to Making the Most of Your Legal Education." Kaplan Publishing has to be one of the best publishers on the planet. Jennifer Farthing is an outstanding publisher, Monica Lugo, Shannon Berning and Fred Urfer are the best editors in the business. They took a manuscript to had potential and turned it into a book of substance and value. I will forever be indebted to them for their belief in the book and their efforts in bringing it to fruition.
I am thankful for my readers. There are plenty of books on the subject and I appreciate the people who chose my book. I stumbled and fumbled through my first year of law school and I am convinced that it doesn't have to be that way. I firmly believe that with the right roadmap, law school can train you to become a great lawyer, which will in turn, help our society become to become better. I appreciate those of you who read my blog and the kind words I have recieved (As a quick aside, after I started the blog, I quickly realized that there were people who enjoy trolling blogs with nothing but negative and non-constructive comments. I really want my work to be positive and uplifting. As a result, I decided to close the blog for comments. However, if you want to reach me, you can through the contact page. I respond to any and all inquiries.)
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope it brings you peace (somehow, there is a Dolly Parton tune playing in my head) and I hope you achieve all of your dreams in life. Fulfilled dreams are such an incredible blessing. If you are in law school, hang in there- better days are coming. I can assure you that if you stay with it, you will graduate. You will pass the bar. You will become a lawyer. If you are hoping to get into law school, the same applies. Keep pressing on toward your goal. With the current state of the economy, it has become in vogue to challenge the law school value proposition. And although I agree that law school tuition (and college tuition, for that matter) have gotten completely out of hand, I believe that it is all still worth it. The practice of law is an honorable and helping profession. We need more good lawyers. And I hope you become one of them.