When I volunteered to write Kenway’s April blog post, I had planned to share my thoughts on Kenway’s Services Model from the perspective of a former client. That was before the events in Boston on April 15.
Perspective…I looked up the word in the dictionary and found this: “a way of regarding situations, facts, etc. and judging their relative importance.” Events like the tragedy in Boston have a way of changing our perspective. Sadly, this was just the latest in a long line of senseless tragedies. They shake us up and tend to make us refocus on what is important in life. We give our kids a longer hug, connect with family or friends we’ve neglected for too long, and have a little more patience with those around us. But alas, too often this change in perspective quickly fades.
I had a wave of emotions as the news broke on April 15. Horror. Anger. Sadness. I watched the news and felt for the victims. I reached out to close friends who live in and near Boston and was relieved to hear that all were safe and sound. I then went to bed, got up the next day, got the kids off to school, and headed to work. As I drove to the train station, I listened to the radio. The program I was listening to was continuing to cover the events in Boston, and I was able to filter the stories as “news”. My changed perspective was already fading. Then I heard the story of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed by one of the explosions. He and his family had just gotten ice cream and returned to an area near the finish line when the bomb exploded. My youngest son is 8. Like Martin and most other 8-year-olds, my son is a huge fan of ice cream. My wife and I often take our kids to Dairy Queen in the summer for an after-dinner treat. To think I take that for granted. I sat in my car thinking about what Martin’s father must be going through. He will forever be tormented by “what if” questions even though there is no way he could have done anything differently to protect his son and family. Perspective.
There is a wonderful poem called “The Dash” written by Linda Ellis. If you have not read it, I encourage you to do so. The poem’s theme is quite simple – make the most of time, because it is the most precious commodity we have. Whenever I read this poem, I think about how easy it is to become consumed by the minutia of life. I get caught up in the rat race – focused on everything that has to be done to make it day to day. And then tragedies like Newtown and Boston provide a wake-up call. My favorite aspect of this poem is that it articulates the simple fact that our legacy is written by those whose lives we touch. This reminds me of the powerful scene at the end of Schindler’s List when the descendants of the people Oscar Schindler saved put a stone on his grave (a recent count put the number of these descendants at over 7,000). Even more powerful for me was the scene where he looks at his car, watch, and jewelry and thinks about what he could have done. Perspective.
Clearly, the story of Martin Richard made this tragedy more personal for me. I am now committed to ensuring that its impact will persist long after the news cycle has moved on. How many times do I hear but not listen? Am I distracted by life’s details or focused on the conversation I’m having? I have ample opportunities for self-improvement. I am committed to being a more focused husband, father, son, brother, friend, coworker, and consultant. Simply put, I am, as Ms. Ellis says, more committed to “living the dash”.
The preceding inclusion of my consulting role brings me back to the original purpose of this blog. I had intended to elaborate on how Kenway’s Services Model enables us to provide a better product for our clients. But that is clearly the topic for another day. For today, suffice it to say that at Kenway our services are provided by people for people. Consulting is not a commodity – it is about building and maintaining relationships with others. I plan to make the most of them!