Don’t Wait for the Eulogy to Say Thank You!

A very small percentage of people have had Mark Twain’s experience—who, though very much alive, was reported to have died. He memorialized (pardon the pun) this experience in 1897 with his pithy statement, “The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated!”

It’s one thing to have people think you’re dead—it’s another thing to then actually read an obituary written about you! This was Lord Alfred Douglas’ experience in 1921: furious with the critical and un-flattering obituary written about him in the local newspaper—who had mistakenly thought he had just died. In fact, he was very much alive, evidenced when he sued the newspaper responsible for slander—and won the lawsuit!

Recently at a good friend’s retirement party, I had opportunity to comment to everyone gathered that it felt like I was actually at a funeral listening to a eulogy! I was amazed at all the wonderful things spoken about him—a teacher for over 35 years—and his influence in the lives of students and parents alike.

How many people ever hear the positive comments and expressions of gratitude that could be made about them by friends, family, and colleagues? Not many. We save those kind of comments for funerals. Let’s change that!

Instead, let’s practice cheering people on with the truth about their character, love, and actions that have benefited others. No doubt, this type of encouragement is an investment in their lives that will result in huge dividends—and further acts of love and service!