Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Are Mensches an Endangered Species?

On Monday, as we launched this series, Hedy offered a definition of mensch:

An endangered species of human. But with care and nurturing and best set examples in daily life, it is predicted that their numbers shall increase.

I'm delighted to offer a case in point: Jackson, my friend Cheri's son. Cheri, a fine example of a mensch, has raised Jackson with care and nurturing, and this young man gives me hope for the future. On this, his 12th birthday, Jackson is already a true mensch. He's a role model for the kids in middle school -- and for all of us. We can do what Jackson does:

  • Be respectful.
    Listen when people talk. Make eye contact. Respond.
  • Be kind.
    Take care of other people. Pay attention to those around you. Notice who needs help or encouragement -- and offer it.
  • Be grateful. 
    Realize that your life, with all its challenges, is also filled with so many wonderful reasons for gratitude -- from a roof over your head to birthday cake! 

Gratitude didn't show up in any of the mensch definitions CI readers offered on Monday, but I've been mulling it over, and I think it's an attribute mensches share. Gratitude opens our hearts. And that's a key to letting other people in.

Jackson, it goes against etiquette to thank someone for a thank you note, so I won't thank you for the note below. I will thank you for expressing your gratitude in such a fun, creative way and for making me laugh when I got the card. I'm delighted to be your mom's Jewish mom. Happy birthday!

P.S. Are thank you notes an endangered species? Oy. That's a whole other blog post ...

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