What do you want for Christmas?

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A Gough household Christmas tree from days gone by.

We ask our kids. We ask our spouses. We ask our friends and extended family.

What do you want for Christmas?

What do we say? What do we really want?

Most of you reading this are blessed. You don’t really NEED anything. Certain things would be nice, but most of us just want to be able to spend time with those we love for the next few days.

World peace? Domestic tranquility? Those don’t seem very attainable these days. A cure for every strain of COVID? Well, we can’t agree on what that is either.

But what we can agree on is this: If you reach out to someone you care about who you haven’t been able to see or talk to in awhile, it might make all the difference in the world.

Just a check-in. Meet for lunch. Grab a beer. You don’t know if that moment might be the one that really matters to someone.

But this is the time of the year for hope. For us to begin to look ahead toward a new year with new possibilities.

Skepticism is fine. Hell, I’ve been skeptical most of my life. But lately, I’ve seen my glass as half full a lot more than I’ve seen it as half empty. Maybe it is because I’m back to doing what I love. Maybe it is because I have reconnected with a group of committed people who believe in what we are all doing. Maybe it is because I am hearing multiple times a day how much people love what we are doing at Muddy River News.

My wife always tells me “words of affirmation” are my love language. Since she’s known me for more than half of my life, I’ll give her that. I always found I responded better to praise than to criticism. I’ve had soul-crushing bosses and I’ve had bosses who have had my back. I fare better with the latter. When I’ve had bosses who yelled or nitpicked, I would shut down, paralyzed by their rants or petty remarks. When I know someone is 100 percent in my corner, I thrive.

I don’t have bosses now. I have partners. I don’t have employees. I have co-workers. The faith and confidence we have in each other is refreshing. Our oars are all pulling in the same direction. We have put together a team. A family.

And my kids will all be home next week.

What do I want for Christmas?

I have it.

Although a bottle of whiskey wouldn’t hurt.

J. Robert Gough is the Publisher/GM of Muddy River News.

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