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Hallmark Holidays

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Wisdom Leading

I simply couldn't resist this topic. Maybe not for the reason you think. Sunday was another of the "Hallmark Holidays," a contrived time of reflection and acknowledgement of a loved one. The origin of this slang term derived from a clever marketing tactic perfected by the greeting card company, Hallmark Cards, whose sole purpose was to (wait for it)... sell more cards. I'll admit to minor cynicism, in times past, over such contrivances. Don't get me wrong - I love acknowledgements as much as the next person. My distrust and dislike stemmed from the fact that Hallmark was agnostic as to what the day was and who it was calling out - mother, father, co-worker, babysitter. They simply wanted to sell more cards. So, they invented days, provoking my ire. This year, however, I've taken a different stance. This past weekend, as I read at the countless, heartfelt acknowledgements of fathers on Facebook, staring at dated and cherished Kodak photos, I started to view each one as a prayer, rather than a boast; a moment of presence in a world so void of presence. Each post became a chance, for that fleeting moment to pause, reflect, honor, feel something. Those are good things, things I say I like, so why would I feel otherwise? Like the daily childhood ritual of reciting, often sleepily, the Pledge of Allegiance or the Buddhist cymbal that lightly rings us into presence, perhaps the occurrence of these invented days is a simple, gentle reminder of the value of reflection and acknowledgement. I'd like to take it one step further. Why not every day? Do you recall the concept of "un-birthdays" from Lewis Carroll's classic "Through the Looking-Glass?" It's like that; every day not our birthday is cause for celebration. While we have Father's Day once each year, every day is an un-Father's Day (on un-Mother's Day, or...) and still a cause for honoring and acknowledging important people in our lives. What would a daily ritual of reflection and celebration make possible in your life?

I simply couldn't resist this topic. Maybe not for the reason you think.

Sunday was another of the "Hallmark Holidays," a contrived time of reflection and acknowledgement of a loved one. The origin of this slang term derived from a clever marketing tactic perfected by the greeting card company, Hallmark Cards, whose sole purpose was to (wait for it)... sell more cards.

I'll admit to minor cynicism, in times past, over such contrivances. Don't get me wrong - I love acknowledgements as much as the next person. My distrust and dislike stemmed from the fact that Hallmark was agnostic as to what the day was and who it was calling out - mother, father, co-worker, babysitter. They simply wanted to sell more cards. So, they invented days, provoking my ire.

This year, however, I've taken a different stance.

This past weekend, as I read at the countless, heartfelt acknowledgements of fathers on Facebook, staring at dated and cherished Kodak photos, I started to view each one as a prayer, rather than a boast; a moment of presence in a world so void of presence. Each post became a chance, for that fleeting moment to pause, reflect, honor, feel something. Those are good things, things I say I like, so why would I feel otherwise?

Like the daily childhood ritual of reciting, often sleepily, the Pledge of Allegiance or the Buddhist cymbal that lightly rings us into presence, perhaps the occurrence of these invented days is a simple, gentle reminder of the value of reflection and acknowledgement. I'd like to take it one step further. Why not every day? Do you recall the concept of "un-birthdays" from Lewis Carroll's classic "Through the Looking-Glass?" It's like that; every day not our birthday is cause for celebration. While we have Father's Day once each year, every day is an un-Father's Day (on un-Mother's Day, or...) and still a cause for honoring and acknowledging important people in our lives.

What would a daily ritual of reflection and celebration make possible in your life?

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Dr. Foster Mobley

Trusted advisor and coach to admired executives globally for 3 decades, Thought leader on wisdom-based approaches to breakthrough leading, "Lead Coach" for Deloitte's experienced and high potential leader development, Team performance advisor to two NCAA championship teams