Thanksgiving. Can't let it come and go without telling you what I'm thankful for. First and foremost, I'm thankful for an incredible family, my faith, the blessing of meaningful work, etc.
Next up? I'm thankful for the incredible melting pot of America.
I had the good fortune to be on a call with someone I met earlier this year at the HR Technology conference on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. At that show, I saw a natural opening based on her comments about her family and asked if she was Persian. I'm always amazed at immigrant stories. They're so inspiring and humbling.
Her story goes something like this - Her father gets the hell out of Iran sometime around the Iranian revolution (look it up Gen Z, there used to be a "Shah" in Tehran), comes to American with next to nothing, builds an incredible life and business. He and his wife have kids, who become 100% American and are the envy of their now distant relatives in Iran.
The kids grow up, have careers and at times, complain, as all kids do. You know what the Persian matriarch's quote is every time they whine?
"In America, every day is a vacation day".
Mind. Blown. On Tuesday, she told me when the family goes around the table to say what they're thankful for, her dad will invariably get to this quote. Iran to Cali. 100% American. 110% Awesome.
I'm also reminded of how thankful I am for the American melting pot by other stories. A caring soul at Kinetix (my company) put together a benefit for Syrian refugees in Atlanta. The family cooked, members of our team donated money and the company provided some laptops. Guess who translated for the Syrian mom and dad? The pre-teen kid.
100% American, that kid.. He's never going back to Syria - he's probably run away to stay in the US if his parents go back.
My oldest son and I were in a gym lifting weights a couple of weeks ago. A family who I later found out was from Bangalore (India for the uninitiated) was taking a tour of the facility. I pointed out the family and decided to drop some knowledge on my son, which I know he loves. The lesson? People in American from the sub-continent are among the most driven, talented, achievement-oriented folks you'll meet. They came a long way to get to the States and they're here to win! Amazing in a lot of ways. The implied lesson? Get ready to compete in the workplace, because these folks are really good.
I could go on, but I'll stop there. This post is not political. It's not a subtle message to tell you anything other than I'm amazed by the melting pot of America. If anyone hijacks the post with political comments, I'll simply reply, "I'm thankful for the people profiled in my post and everyone like them."
I live in an area of the US where college football reigns supreme. In most stadiums, Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" will ultimately be trotted out for the sing-along (da-da-da!) on game day.
They should roll out "They're Coming to America" by Diamond once in a while instead. That song always gets me.
America is awesome. For all the division, there are so many stories like this. I'm thankful for every one of them. Have a great Thanksgiving.