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    Thanksgiving 2014 – Voice

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    Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.
    Stephen Covey

    For those reading this in America, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day yesterday.  Our family enjoyed time with some friends.  It was fun to hang out together laughing and sharing.

    As I have shared throughout the week, our family Thanksgiving tradition includes tracing our hand prints onto a white tablecloth.  In each of our fingers, we write down something for which we are thankful.  This week, I’m taking time to share something I’ll be writing on the tablecloth this year.  I’m hoping you’ll contribute to the conversation by leaving something for which you are thankful for each day.

    Here is the fifth thing I wrote down this year:

    Voice

    I’m not talking about the NBC television show, The Voice, although I do watch it from time to time.

    I’m talking about the opportunity to utilize my voice.

    This idea was initially sparked by my involvement in Toastmasters this year.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to practice using my voice in a way that enhances my communication and leadership skills.  I’m also thankful for the people I’ve met along the way as a result of my involvement with Toastmasters.

    Then I started thinking about other ways I get to use my voice.  My voice is heard every time someone reads one of my blog posts, reads one of my comments, or reads my book.  I get to use my voice at my job through my daily interactions with team members, co-workers, and customers.  I also get to use my voice at home.  I hope I am a voice for wisdom, for love, and for hope.

    The more I thought about being thankful for my voice, the more I kept coming back to the fact that many people in this world do not have a voice.  It’s not that they cannot speak.  It’s more that they are not heard.  This is sad.  People with do not have a voice often go unnoticed and forgotten.  They fall by the wayside and are steamrolled by those who are more powerful, more influential, and just plain louder.

    Each one of us has the opportunity to be the voice for others who do not have a voice.  It first involves us waking up and noticing those around us who don’t have a voice.  Then it involves utilizing our own voices and platforms to speak up for those who don’t have a voice.  By doing this, we be can be the catalyst to amplify the voice of those who have gone unheard.  You and I can do this!

    My experiences in Guatemala have certainly provided an opportunity to see those who don’t have a voice.  Part of the reason I share about my Guatemalan experiences is to help me remember.  I don’t want to forget what I’ve seen, what I’ve experienced, and who I’ve met.  Another reason for sharing my Guatemalan journey is to open others eyes to those in the little village of Xenacoj who might otherwise go unheard.  I want people to know about my friends in Xenacoj.  I want people here at home to understand what they are facing every day.  And I want readers to get involved to help change things in Xenacoj for my dear Guatemalan friends.

    With this in mind, I am very thankful for my voice.  I know I have an opportunity to help the unheard be heard.

    What is one thing you would put on your thankful list this year?  Why?

    How are you using your voice to be the voice for others?