One of Chicagoland’s best newspaper columnists is a guy named *Neil Steinberg. Like all good writers, he’s nimble with words. His faith, heritage and life experience have rendered him wise, empathetic and honest. His columns consistently shine light on difficult subjects, and he showers kindness on under-appreciated facets of civic life. He’s transparent about his emotions, his struggles and his foibles. In prophetic ways, Steinberg shows courage by speaking truth to power. He sees beyond the obvious and around conceptual corners—finding what others might have missed.
He doesn’t always get the thanks that he deserves. Because not everyone learns from Steinberg’s insights, he catches way too much vitriol, mindless ignorance, threats and hateful accusations. I don’t like it when anyone piles angry criticism on leaders for doing or saying what’s true. So I send Neil Steinberg thank-you notes. By that thankswriting, I can counter the mean-spiritedness that’s fogging our brains, turning us into ungrateful wretches and muddying our relationships.
When I read an especially helpful column—insights and challenges that change the way I think or act—I send Steinberg a thankful e-mail or text. And not just any old thank-you note. Instead, I try to be specific about the reasons for my gratitude. When they’re apparent, I also reflect gratefully on some of the personal qualities that surely underlie his writing—his character, values, mission or identity. Because he’s a man of faith, I can also thank him for the witness of his spiritual depth. Neil’s a good guy, and he deserves all the thanks his readers can send him.
So here’s my question for you this Thanksgiving: Do you have any “Neil Steinbergs” in your neck of the woods—writers, entertainers, public servants, pastors, elected officials or volunteer leaders?
If so, enjoy your own thankswriting…!
*You can find Steinberg’s columns at Neil Steinberg – Chicago Sun-Times (suntimes.com)
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