Jim Kirkpatrick’s Holiday Message

December 27, 2018

Here we are, leaving 2018 in traditional holiday fashion. I went to a Christmas concert over the past weekend where there were lots of festive songs with instruments, bells, and choirs made up of people of all ages. One song caused the most curious reaction from me. It was sung by two choirs, The “Singin’ Seniors” and the “Cherubs.”

I was immediately struck by the visual. Here was a group of about 25 silver-haired (or no-haired) seniors standing in front, and an even larger group of five or six year olds standing on risers immediately behind them. Can you see it? Now picture them taking turns singing their parts of the song. The seniors, dignified, conservative in manner yet enthusiastic of voice. The children, well, I wish I had a video for you to see. They were singing their little hearts out, many out of key and not caring, waving to parents, jumping up and down, swinging their arms, poking their neighbors. The real treat for me was when they were all singing together. And then the metaphor hit…

At 65, I am considered to be among the seniors, but I envy and admire the spirit of the children. Most of you are in between these age groups. What I wish for you this holiday season is to embody the wisdom, tradition and memories of the seniors, along with the enthusiasm of the children. Each of you will hopefully find your own ways of having thoughtful, patient conversations with those close to you without getting caught up in all of the trappings and responsibilities of the season. 

What does this have to do with evaluation? Nothing that I can see. What does it have to do with a rich life? Everything.

Oh, one more thing. The name of the song they sang was, “Stars Are for Those Who Lift Their Eyes.”As a preview of my New Year message, I will end with this: It is easy to look at all that is not going well in our work and lives, but be encouraged; much opportunity exists for great things to happen with both.

I wish you a peaceful holiday, however and whatever you celebrate. See you next year!

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