Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Letter, December 2016

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season, of course…

I hope your year has been full of people responding to you with “of course.” The world needs more people saying “…of course”. Whether it is “of course you are welcome here” or “of course I’ll help”. Even “yes” isn’t as good as “of course”. “Yes” means it could have been “no” – of course means there was never any question.

The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that the phrase “of course” first appeared in the mid-1500s and was used to mean "belonging to the ordinary procedure; customary; natural." The use of "of course" within the phrase "as a matter of course" appeared in the 1700s and had the same meaning. The use of "of course" as a standalone phrase emerged in the 1800s when the definition, "customary; natural," was modified slightly to become, "naturally; obviously."

I have been reflecting on how blessed we are with so many friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers who respond to our spoken and unspoken requests with “of course.” When Erik (now 22), landed an internship with Strategy& (division of PriceWaterhouseCoopers) this past summer in San Francisco, it was the Bratt family who said, “Of course, he’ll live with us.” The summer was wonderful. Erik is now mid-senior year at Swarthmore College and has accepted a position upon graduation with Boston Consulting Group and will be living in Philadelphia.

Grant headed for an internship at the University of South Dakota in June and the Jorgensen family said, “Of course, Grant can stay in our home.” And when Grant decided to head for New Orleans to attend Tulane University, friends in that area all responded with, of course, we are just a phone call away if he needs anything. Grant approached first semester freshman year with his own “of course” attitude and made his way into a biochemistry lab. This research and community of researchers has become a focus of Grant’s freshman year.

Mark rarely is met with “of course” in his quest for innovative and additional aquatic programming for inner-city youth. But, he continues to fight back with “of course we’ll use the pool, have programming on weekends, and welcome all ages.” Mark ignores obstacles and is now running more programming and positively impacting more lives than ever.

At work, I have had an exciting year of expanding services with the focus that treating hearing loss can improve health outcomes. I am so thankful for a group of colleagues around me who respond to these ideas with, “Of course we’ll figure out how to make this work, and find the resources, time, and expertise to do all of this.” And, of course, I enjoyed telling Main Stage stories for The Moth in New York and Pittsburgh this year.

We hope you hear “of course” throughout 2017, and we hope you’ll think of responding with this phrase so people know there was never any doubt that you would help them, cheer them on, include them…and, of course, we wish you and yours health and happiness in 2017!

Catherine Palmer and Mark Rauterkus
108 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

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