*Giving* thanks

Like many of you, I have a lot to be thankful for. You can probably imagine what some of those things are: family, friends, their good health and mine (or the courage and strength to manage when that’s not the case), a decent job, and so forth.

Not to diminish all those things, I’m going to focus for a moment on something else that, in the grand scheme of things, is relatively insignificant. But it’s significant to this blog and comes from a philosophy I admire.

Ashish Jha offered, and we have accepted, some in-kind support for TIE from one of his research assistants, Dan Liebman. For this, I am thankful, both to Ashish and Dan. With Dan’s help, we can do so much more and better. Soon, you’ll begin to see what I mean. So, this is a little thing you can be thankful for too.

When Ashish and I discussed this arrangement, I asked him why he was willing to contribute the time of one of his RAs that could otherwise be used to further his own research program. His answer was that when he sees something of high quality, something he values and that is also, in his view, good for the world, he wants to help make it better, if he can. He wants to make a tangible contribution. What he was saying was that lending a hand in this way to TIE was not a hard choice for him. He did it with joy and confidence that his contribution would be put to good use. It’s a way for him to express gratitude with more than words, with a gift. It’s not just saying “thanks,” it’s literally giving thanks.

Giving in this way is how Ashish lives. It’s wonderful and worthy of emulation.

I expect Dan’s contribution, facilitated by Ashish, will make a large impact on what we do here. But gifts of thanks that help this blog can be small too. For example, many readers help TIE when they share our content with their network. It’s a small gesture that doesn’t take much time. But, I’m grateful for it. Thank you! And keep doing it. If you read something here you find valuable, please retweet it or post it on Facebook or email it to some friends, etc. When you do so, you’re giving thanks right back.

Now, as I said, this blog and our sharing of it is not the most significant thing we could be thankful for. But in my life it has been and is significant. It’s worth a moment of reflection to recognize that readers like Ashish and you help make that happen.

I hope you (and I) spend today, tomorrow, the weekend, and beyond giving thanks to things of value in our lives and our world — big and small. Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: blogging will be light through the weekend.


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