My Dynamic Words
These are a series of emails that Mark sent to his grandchildren.
Subject: NOTES FROM PAPA Date: July 7, 2011
A few weeks ago I was going through my memory drawer at my office. This is a stack of various articles, speeches, quotes even some comic strips that I have collected through the years that have impressed me for some reason. They say a lot about life.
I thought I would send some excerpts from these every month or so.
I will try to keep them short (I know how busy you are), and will not be “preachy”.
Comment on them if you like or just push the delete button if you don’t.
One of the items I cherish is a poem written by a modern poet from Michigan.
The title is PREACHING but it is not “preachy”.
PREACHING by Edgar Guest
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one would walk with me than merely show the way;
For the eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear;
Good counsel is confusing but examples always clear.
And best of all the preachers are those who live their creed;
For to see good put into action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.And the lectures you deliver, may be very fine and true,But I’d rather get my lesson, by observing what you do;
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding HOW YOU ACT AND HOW YOU LIVE.
That last sentence says it all. It has been a mantra for me since 1967.
Love you all so much.
Subject: COMMITMENT Date: Fri, July 15, 2011
Second message is a word that I have used in a number of speeches.
The word this time is commitment. I share a quote from the Harvard Business Review.
“A commitment to achieving a plan is essential to the successful execution of the plan. Leaders should never be pressured (or allow themselves to be pressured) into making unrealistic commitments. But once commitments are made, they should always be fulfilled. A broken commitment usually means a sloppy attitude that permits people to get away with rationalization for failure. Whatever the commitment seems trivial or important makes no difference. A commitment is a commitment.
“Several years ago I wrote a speech titled “Commitment to excellence”. I started by researching the word COMMITMENT. I found that the word comes from two Latin words COM and MITERE. “COM” meaning with and “MITERE” means to join together . So commitment means to join together with some thing or someone.
When Mama and I got married we made a commitment to each other. We were joined together in this relationship. When I was was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army I made a commitment to defend the United States of America. When I was asked to be president of Publix I made a commitment to the Board of Directors to the mission of the company. I was joined together with the philosophy of the company and doing everything I could to achieving excellence in the pursuit of this mission.
I will never forget as a pre teen walking around Lake Hollingsworth with my mother and having a discussion about keeping promises. “Mark” she said, “Don’t ever be known as a promise breaker.” She was saying in a child’s vocabulary, “Be sure you keep your commitments”.
There is so much one can accomplish in life having a reputation for living up to the meaning of this word.
Love to you all
Subject: NOTES FROM PAPA Date: August 11, 2011
I have been thinking a lot about these notes and it apears that they are taking the tack of a speech I wrote more than 30 years ago. It was titled DYNAMIC WORDS OF LIFE. I also wrote one DYNAMIC WORDS OF ROTARY and another one DYNAMIC WORDS OF PUBLIX. Perhaps I should change the title of these notes to DYNAMIC WORDS FOR MY GRANDCHILDREN. The first word I shared was PREACHING, the second was COMMITMENT. This time the word was prompted by a note from David (Hollis, Dean’s Son). He had just returned from an extended wilderness experience in the desert/mountains of south west Utah and was catching up with his e mails and read my first two notes. Each of the words reminded him of his recent experience. He learned a quote while there from Henry Ford; “Whether you think you can or you think you can not, you are probably right.”
Ase read my notes on COMMITMENT, he said he remembered a story I had told some years ago about Winston Churchill the Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II. Sir Winston had been invited to speak to the school he had attended as a boy. It was early in the war and England was being terribly beaten by the Germans and the evil Adolf Hitler. The Prime Minister was given a glowing introduction and was greeted with wild applause by the students. He pulled himself out of his seat, approached the podium and looked out over these eager young faces.
In his strong voice he said, “Never give up, never, never, NEVER…….. GIVE UP”. He turned and took his seat. There was a long pause as the significance of the message sunk in to these young minds.
I lived through those years when I was 6 to 12 years old. As I look back on those years, I realize that our world could have ended up totally in control of the Nazi party. What happened was the free world, led by The United States and England, NEVER GAVE UP.
So what? My word for this month is PERSISTENCE. As David reminded me “Believe in yourself” and keep “the drive to never give up.” And that is my life story over the last 9 months.
Love to you all.
Subject: DYNAMIC WORDS FOR MY GRANDCHILDREN Date: September 27, 2011
This word for this month is INTEGRITY. This word is surely one of the most dynamic in my vocabulary. It has been a key word in my life since hearing the story of General Bill Dean many years ago.General Dean, U.S. Army, was the only General to be captured during the Korean War. He was subjected to the same gruesome torture that other POW’s went through.
At the end of one particularly brutal day, he was told that because of his refusal to cooperate, he would be shot at sunrise the next morning. His captors gave him a pencil and paper and told him to write a farewell message to his family.We know now that this was one of their tactics and the General would eventually be freed, but at this point he was morally certain that this would be his last message to his wife and son.
The last line in his letter said simply “Tell Billy the word is INTEGRITY.”
I can’t think of any better word that you could adopt as a mantra for your life than the word INTEGRITY. Nor could I think of any better word that I could pass on to my Grandchildren.
But what does it mean? Most people would probably say…”honesty” or “sincerity”. Well, those are good synonyms but not complete.
You see a person can be honest and not have integrity but you can not be a person of integrity and not be honest. (Think that one through.)
Recently I came across another way of thinking about integrity. I was finishing the sculpture SHALOM at the same time I was reading Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book “Living a Life That Matters”. Chapter 5 is titled “Shalom… The Quest For Integrity.”
This really caught my eye. I always thought shalom was Hebrew for peace, or it was a blessing of peace that one would extend to another. So how does the Rabbi tie these words together? Here is his definition: “Integrity … being whole, unbroken, undivided, a person who has united (integrated) (integrity) the different parts of her or his personality so there is no longer a split in the soul.” (Now that deserves some thought.)
Some young people might say “He’s real.” or “She’s real.” I would say a person with integrity is whole, they are consistent, they are the same yesterday and tomorrow as they are today. They are consistent with the best of values.
At age 77 you might say I have learned a few things in those years:
1. Nations who set aside their principles sooner or later will fail.
2. Institutions who set aside their values sooner or later fail.
3. Individuals who turn away from their integrity sooner or later will self destruct.
So when I wish you shalom, my beloved grandchildren, I wish for you a life of integrity.
With my love.
Subject: DYNAMIC WORDS OF LIFE Date: December 5, 2011
This is Thanksgiving week so what better word could I choose than the word Thanksgiving. I must confess that this year this day took on a whole new meaning for me. One year ago I was just out of surgery where the Doctor performed what he called the most serious and complex surgery that can be done. I asked him “Not more so than open heart surgery?” He replied, ” Yes it is the worst, with the worst odds for recovery.” So I really wondered how many more Thanksgivings we would have together. So here we are one year later and I am feeling great.
Back to where I was before this all came about. I am truly thankful for LIFE. All week I have been thinking about various synonyms for thanksgiving and gratefulness. I found such words as appreciation, grateful, gratitude, acknowledge, never forget, pleased, and the list goes on. I am all these things for ALL my family. Thanksgiving week I spent more time in prayer thanking God for life and for all those who have done so much for me this year. I appreciate all the love you have expressed, all the prayers you have lifted up, and all the different ways you have let me know you were pulling for me. You are all very special to Mama and me.
My counsel for you: think about how much you appreciate things that have have been done for you….. by your parents, teachers, friends and advisors….do you tell these good folks thank you? Something I have learned in these 77+ years is that you can never express your appreciation too much and it is always appreciated. Every thanksgiving from now on I will send Dr. Moskal a thank you note for extending my life.
Sorry this is so late but I did not get back to edit it until tonight. God bless each of you.
Subject: DYNAMIC WORD Date: December 25, 2011
MERRY CHRISTMAS Dear Grandchildren.
It’s Christmas day and I have been thinking all week about my “word” for the month. On Christmas eve it occurred to me one of the most important words in my vocabulary ….. EMMANUEL. We hear it every Christmas but it is a word that that is important to me every minute of every day and every day of every year. EMMANUEL…….God with us.
This concept is found throughout the old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament it is about God being WITH those who are faithful to Him. (There is a great story about Joseph in the 41st chapter of Genesis.) Several times this story repeats the expression “God was with him.” (Joseph) In the New Testament we are told that the angel told Mary that God was with her and her son would be called EMMANUEL.
Those who know Jesus will know God and God will be with them. I have known this since I was 7 years old and I had it confirmed in my life this last year.
Every day I pray for each of you that you will know Jesus as your savior and will know that “God is with YOU.”
I love each of you so very much.
Subject: DYNAMIC WORDS Date: February 10, 2012
To All My Grandchildren
This is my 6th “Dynamic Words” letter” and it will be the most important word I have written about.
It is the master word of life.
It is the great unifying power of the world.
It is the word LOVE.
The problem with this word is that it has so many different meanings.
The Greeks had three different words that could be translated as “love”.
The first was “philios.” This word was used to reference brotherly love. The city of Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love.
The second word is “eros.” This is romantic or sexual or erotic love. It’s the love you have for your significant sweetheart.
The third word that is most frequently used in the new testament is “agape.” This is complete, unreserved, love without limits.
Rodale’s synonym finder lists maybe 100 synonyms for the word love, the one I like best is the word “treasure”.
When your parents tell you how much they love you they are really saying they treasure you. And that’s what Mama and I mean when we say “I love you.” We mean we hold you in our hearts like a highly prized treasure.
In the graduation speech I gave at some of your graduations I said about this word:
“Some day when we master the power of the sun and the winds and the tides and gravity we shall harness the power of love and for the second time we will discover the power of fire.”
I am sure you will recall the “love chapter of the bible”, 1 Corinthians 13. The new translation of the bible called THE MESSAGE translates verses 4 through 7 like this:
“Love never gives up,
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut,
doesn’t have a swelled head.
Doesn’t force itself on others.
Isn’t always “me first, Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep of the sins of others.
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always, Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps on going to the end.”
My deepest LOVE to each of you.
Have a wonderful Valentines day.
(This was his last email to his grandchildren.)
Other Dynamic Words of Mark Hollis