A Valentine Discovery . . .

Be thankful for the bad things that happen in life, For they open your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.

This has been a very frustrating couple of weeks.  The weather is cold, damp and overcast.  My daughter has been hit with a flu-bug of some virulent strain, probably mutated from the bubonic plague or something similar, so she has been missing both school and violin practice, with international competitions coming up soon.

As for me, I have been going back and forth with Amazon, you know, that massive retailer that sells everything!  Well, believe it or not I am having a very difficult time getting them to sell my new book, FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution.  It’s live on their website, even with a few readers comments, but in big red letters it says: OUT OF STOCK, even though I have sent them, at great expense, several cases of book to two US Amazon fulfilment centres. Still trying unsuccessfully to speak to a live person instead of back and forth emails, not easy.  It’s beginning to feel like the humans at Amazon have mutated as well.  And, my wife is playing mother and wife to two miserable people, and at the same time trying to get out into the business world again.  Needless to say, we are all a little grumpy this February.

And in the midst of all this, comes Valentine’s Day, a faintly pagan ritual with connectionsvalentines-day to the coming of spring and the mating of birds, now heavily commercialised.  Off I went to the card shop to pick out a few cards and was horrified to find that most commercial Valentine cards cost upwards of £ 4.00 (about $6).  Love is definitely keeping up with inflation.

So, being resourceful (and cheap), I decided to make my own Valentine’s Cards.  I am pretty  handy with scissors, tape, glitter, glue and coloured paper, so I dug into the “crafts stuff” drawer in my office and found everything I needed.

Believe it or not, I spent over an hour on two cards.  I could have easily bought two commercial cards in about 1 minute at the store, and gotten much better quality, but what I learned by making my own cards was well worth the time and, for me at this moment in time, a priceless lesson in life.

So, here’s my lesson.  In the hour I spent making my two Valentine Cards, I was able to get in touch with all the positive feelings about my wife and daughter that the past several weeks of hassle has crusted over.  I actually spent an hour of uninterrupted time being grateful! (when was the last time you did that?)

Grateful for my lovely daughter who is going through the trials of high school, being a teenager, balancing homework, friends and violin practice.  Grateful that she is curious, intelligent, sometimes surly and difficult, but always loving.  Grateful for my wife who puts up with the moods of an author and writer who is trying to balance two careers, writing novels and building a consulting practice, and not yet fully winning at either.  Grateful for my friends and extended family.  To be honest, I haven’t taken the time to just be GRATEFUL for a long time, too long I think!

Oh, and my cards?  Well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

valentine 1

valentine 2

The outside, wooden letters, colored by me and glued on, with a hand-cut paper heart.

The insides?  Well, just little messages of love from an adoring father and husband.

Spend some quality time making something for the special people in your life.  You might just have a similar discovery of uninterrupted gratitude.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
This entry was posted in Human Psychology, John R Childress, Life Skills, parenting, Personal Development, Psychology, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Valentine Discovery . . .

  1. John Green says:

    John I posted a few more flies today for your fishing trip Regards John

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Lovely post John. We’ve had a difficult February too. Lost our lovely 7 year old cocker spaniel to anaemia on Monday, and now the house is just rattling to the sound of the two of us. Sure has been a lesson in being grateful for what we had, and reminding us to cherish what we hold dear more vigorously. Well done for digging yourself out of your pit. We are trying to do the same.


  3. This is the best Valentine post I’ve seen on the blogosphere.


  4. Raunak says:

    gotta make sure my wife doesn’t see this post…I’ll have to hear about it till next Valentine’s Day.


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