Letters Of Hope

Letters Of Hope

This was a sign in Starbucks in Gaithersburg, MD that got my attention.

It was different–it wasn’t advertising for a local garage sale, real estate, a tutor, or cleaning service.

Instead, it asks people to “write an anonymous letter to a survivor of abuse, violence, rape, trauma, or bullying.”

When I got home, I looked at their website, aletterforyou.org.

I saw some of the letters that had been written on the home page as well as an archive with monthly letters going back to March 2013.

It was inspiring that people write and submit these letters of empathy, love, caring, and unity.

And that someone would advertise for these, collect and post them for abuse victims to find some solace in.

While of course, we gain strength through belief in G-d and a higher purpose in life, perhaps the real message of this letter writing project is that one major way for people to heal from the hurt caused by mean, misguided, or evil individuals is through the love and caring of good people.

While the hurt and abuse of the past can never be undone, the charity and giving of the here and now can provide hope for a better tomorrow. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Never Worn, But Not For The Reason You Think

Never Worn, But Not For The Reason You Think

I remember learning for my MBA about people’s shopping addiction (aka compulsive shopping) and how it consumes their time and money and fuels their self-esteem.

Like a high gotten from alcohol, drugs, and sex, shopping can give people a relief from the everyday stresses that engulf them.

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (18 April 2013) called “A Closet Filled With Regrets” chronicles how people buy stuff they never wear and are sorry they bought it.

In fact, the article states, “Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis.”

One example given is a Pulitzer Prize -winning author who spent $587,000 on Gucci items between 2010-2012, before seeking treatment for his addiction.

A related disorder is shopper’s remorse that occurs, because people second guess themselves and feel maybe an alternative would’ve been a better choice (i.e. they made a bad choice), they didn’t really need the item to begin with (i.e. it was just impulsive), or that they spent too much (i.e. they got a bad deal).

For me, as a child of Holocaust survivors, I find that when I purchase something nice (not extravagant), I put away and also never wear it.

The difference for me is not that I have shoppers remorse, an addiction to shopping, or that I am unhappy with my purchase, but rather that I cannot wear it because I feel as a child of survivors that I have to save it–just in case.

No, it’s not rational–even though I am a very practical and rational person in just about every other way.

It’s just that having seen what can happen when times are bad–and people have nothing–I cannot bear to grant myself the luxury of actually wearing or using something really good.

Perhaps also, I look at my parent’s generation, who suffered so much, and think why am I deserving of this?

They sacrificed and survived, so we (their children) could have it better–what every parent wants for their children, or should.

But still, in my heart, I know that I am the one who has had it easy compared to their lives, and so those purchases are going to stay right where they are–never worn until I donate them to Goodwill.

I never really considered them mine anyway. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Never Lose Faith; Never Give Up

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http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=us/2011/04/21/holocaust.survivor.bar.mitzvah.WRAL

I really liked this story on CNN (source WRAL) on Holocaust survivor, Morris Glass, who is having his bar-mitzvah at 83–Mazel tov!

Mr. Glass was denied his rite of passage as a teenager to become a bar-mitzvah, because his family, like so many at the time, where being murdered by the Nazi’s in the Holocaust.

As he is one of the dwindling few Holocaust survivors left to tell his story–I value and appreciate these lessons that Mr. Glass shares in the interview:

– Be grateful for your loved ones.

– Never forget that terrible things happened to people (slavery, murder…) and could happen again, if not prevented.

– Everything you do, you should do right, even the little things.

– You are free to serve G-d, not free from responsibility.

– You are the future.

– Never lose faith; never give up.

To me, these are lessons in life and in leadership that are universal whether we are at bar-mizvah age (13) or at 83 and whether you are you celebrating Passover, Easter, or whatever.

Happy holidays.