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The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek
The death of Tim Russert touched me deeply. I never knew him personally, but like many of those who watched him regularly, I felt as though I did.
I was particularly moved by the outpouring of love and affection from journalists. The emotional highlight was the roundtable discussion that Tom Brokaw led on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” I’m glad that Brokaw broke his own “no weeping” rule toward the end of the program, when he choked up as he recalled the bond he shared with Russert; Mike Barnicle came close to doing the same shortly afterward. It’s been a long time since journalists allowed their feelings to come through so boldly, and rightly so.
Amidst the swirl of memories and emotions, I wondered if the panelists ever told Russert while he was alive how much he meant to them. If not, they wouldn’t be alone. After all, when are we most likely to tell someone that we care deeply about him or her? At that person’s funeral! How much good does that do for the departed? Not a lot.
Funerals are for the living, and of course it’s important for the bereaved to comfort one another. But there is also a lot to be said for telling someone that he or she matters to us while that person is alive and able to appreciate it.
In a BusinessWeek.com column last summer, I explained why expressing our gratitude is a matter of ethics, not etiquette. I proposed making a list of the people to whom we are grateful, and then thanking each of them sooner rather than later.
Imagine how much good we’d be doing for others (and ourselves) if we did this. It’s a tall order, though, so given how busy we all are, I encourage you to do the following:
As soon as you finish reading this blog, write an email, pick up the phone, or go up to someone you care about, and let that person know how much he or she means to you. It’s not necessary to go on at great length; you can make a big difference even with something as simple as, “I just want you to know that I value our relationship.”
Why wait another minute?
Editor's Note: Dr. Weinstein will be appearing regularly on American Morning starting this Friday. For more about the author, visit TheEthicsGuy.com
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