The Courage to Make the First Move
Jay shares insights on ‘Being the Bigger Person’ and the many benefits it can provide.
Here’s a positive thought. I want you to think back to a moment in your life when you found yourself in a disagreement with someone. Perhaps that moment was uncomfortable, and things were said that left some bitterness behind, maybe even to the extent that you felt like you didn’t want to talk to the other person ever again. In these moments, we tend to want to feel validated, looking to win rather than to do what is right, or necessary, or best for everyone involved. Our ego gets the better of us as well, looking to protect our pride over anything. But in today’s climate, where divisiveness seems to be the norm, how can we choose instead to be ‘the bigger person’?
When we get into an argument, or a disagreement, we often view it as a zero-sum game where there must be a winner, and that is us. But when we’re able to look beyond this understanding of a dispute and, in fairly simple terms, ‘be the bigger person’, we not only help encourage healthy debate, we can do so without compromising our own convictions or principles. There are a lot of different themes we touch upon in the Sunshine Report that relate back to this idea of being the bigger person. We’ve spoken about finding common ground and also paying it forward. Similarly, the ability to be the bigger person in a tense or contentious moment promotes both these ideas as well. Choosing to be the bigger person doesn’t necessarily mean walking away from a debate or difficult conversation. Instead, being the bigger person involves active listening, asking the other person questions to better understand their position, helping them feel heard and that their opinion is valued, even if you might not agree with it. It’s a solutions-based approach that actually, when put into practice properly can create the basis for incredibly constructive dialogue that helps provide clarity and purpose.
The truth is, most arguments give us a faulty sense of reality, confining us to a very binary understanding of right and wrong, when in fact it’s not so black and white. Being the bigger person might also mean taking responsibility for one’s role in a conflict, especially when both parties might share blame. The other side of that coin is that someone may simply have a different perspective on the same issue, which doesn’t make them wrong, it just differs from what we believe. Yet as we’ve also discussed in the Sunshine Report, respecting the rights of others to believe what they believe in is the basis of a free society. So, in some ways, the ability to be the bigger person isn’t just about a simple disagreement, by practicing this, it’s also helping to reinforce one of our fundamental rights as free people. So, the next time you find yourself in a tough situation, a disagreement, or maybe even a full-blown argument, take a step back, and see how you can be a peacemaker by ‘being the bigger person’.
Happy Lafayette Day!
New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that recognize May 20th as Lafayette Day. It was established to commemorate the life and legacy of the Marquis de Lafayette.
In 1825, 50 years after the American Revolution, the last living general of the Revolution, Lafayette, came back to the United States to say farewell to the nation he helped found. He was a 19-year-old Frenchman when he first came to the United States to fight in the Revolution and became a household name as one of the leading generals in the Continental Army. For his farewell tour, Lafayette visited the entire nation at the time, from Maine to Illinois and from Georgia to Louisiana and numerous other states in between.
Of course, New Hampshire was on the list. Some towns that Lafayette visited were Cornish, Claremont, Newport, Bradford, Hopkinton, Warner, Concord, Dover, Durham, Portsmouth, Greenland, Derry, North Hampton, and Pembroke. Every stop was a party, with the townspeople all trying to get a glimpse of the famous general.
Because of this visit, many towns have named something in honor of Lafayette, such as streets, counties, and even their own town name. But none celebrated Lafayette like New Hampshire, as we are the only place in America to name an entire mountain after him.
When Lafayette died on May 20, 1834, the nations of France and the United States mourned together the loss of one of their favorite sons.
In 1955, New Hampshire enacted a law requiring that the Governor annually proclaim a proper observance of May 20th in honor of the heroic general. New Hampshire has celebrated Lafayette in several fashions in recent years, such as replanting the Liberty Tree Elm on the State House lawn that Lafayette originally planted during his visit in 1825. This year you can celebrate at the New Hampshire State House and see the new historical marker which honors that visit. Or just down the street from where we live in Portsmouth, you can see a new historical marker honoring the general and recounting his visit to Portsmouth. In fact, even one of the most traveled thoroughfares in our city is named Lafayette Road.
I’ll bet there’s a pretty good chance if you look around in your town or city, you’ll also find a street, a park, a building or an historical marker celebrating this great friend of our nation. So, this year, let’s all say and celebrate, ‘Happy Lafayette Day!’
Coffee? Yes, Please! And, Some Fun Facts
President Ronald Reagan said “I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.” Which is probably the reason why he isn't known as the most caffeinated President. That title belongs hands down to Teddy Roosevelt who was known to drink a gallon a day of coffee and one time supposedly two and a half gallons!
As many of you know, I LOVE coffee and I am not alone. 64 percent of Americans drink coffee every morning. Right here in New Hampshire, the favorite caffeinated beverage in the state is Iced Coffee. Coffee is a great way to build a relationship, close a deal, or enjoy peace and quiet.
So, how bout a few more fun facts about this marvelous beverage….
According to CoffeeBeaned.com, there are nearly 50 coffee roasters in the State of New Hampshire. Keep in mind this number only accounts for one business not multi-locations like Aroma Joes, Dunkin’s, or Starbucks. In fact, my good friend, John Motta, is one of the leading Dunkin Donut franchisees in the nation – and lives right here in New Hampshire.
Coffee is truly a driving force as to how many of us achieve our goals and how it makes a difference in our lives. Besides the extra pep in our step, it also helps our community. I recall participating in ‘Iced Coffee Days’ to support the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth and seeing check presentations by area coffee companies to support community organizations. They give us both the energy and support we need.
Now I ask you to think about the last time you snagged a Cup-of-Joe and also what was one of the coolest coffee spots you went to recently? For me, I have too many. But I would like to touch on a few of them and the memories made.
Recently, as I have been traveling throughout the Granite State supporting the Sunshine Initiative, I have become a frequent ‘coffee visitor’ of some very cool spots. Simply Delicious in Bedford is a one-of-a-kind destination owned and operated by Alex Firman - known for its baked goods, a solid cup of coffee, and now a political ‘must stop’ for would-be office seekers.
Karen and I love living in downtown Portsmouth. We are at the heart of it all. Right around the corner from our home, is a local coffee spot called The Goods. After a solid run along Portsmouth Harbor, I find myself swinging into The Goods for a cup of coffee and something to bring back to the house while I read the Sunday Paper. Also, a Starbucks down the street.
I could go on and on but let’s make sure to highlight Wayfarer Coffee Roasters located in downtown Laconia and Lakeport, New Hampshire. Owned and operated by a wonderful entrepreneur Karen Bassett, Wayfarer has become the place to be and go-to coffee spot in the Lakes Region. In fact, this weekend is the New England Coffee Festival taking place on Beacon Street in Laconia. The two-day event will feature speakers on everything coffee, live music, food trucks, and an opportunity to try some of the finest coffee around. I'll be up there this weekend and I strongly encourage you to come up to the Lakes Region and experience a one-of-its kind event. Get your tickets by visiting https://www.newenglandcoffeefestival.com/#home-necf-section.
Now, I would love for you to share your favorite coffee stop on my Facebook page. And, please feel free to share some ‘fun facts’ about this terrific ‘picker upper’ beverage!
Positive Profile of the Week: Virginia Drew
This week we are delighted to highlight Virginia Drew of Epsom, NH. Virginia is one of the most impactful people in the State of New Hampshire – and here’s why…
Virginia is the Director of the New Hampshire State Visitor Center - which means she connects with all the visitors and oversees all the tours at the historic New Hampshire State House, the oldest State House in the country in continual operation. Virginia welcomes and ensures that everyone visiting our State Capitol gets a unique visiting experience and can fully embrace what makes our State Capitol so special. And, by no means is Virginia new to the State House herself, having worked there for over 22 years. She prides herself on her ability to connect with people and enjoys meeting all the legislators (all 424 of them!). Perhaps her biggest contribution is overseeing all the class tours (4th grade trip anyone?) to Concord which amounts to over 30,000 children a year!
Virginia’s job is a lot more than just helping visitors though. She is also tasked with preserving the many portraits in the State House, some of which are over 12 feet tall. If you have never been in the State House, I highly recommend not only a tour but taking extra time to appreciate the many hand painted portraits of some of the legends of our state.
Outside of Concord, Drew is an active member in the town of Epsom where she is a selectman and has served as a school board member, on the planning board, and budget committee. In fact, the one place she may know even better than our State House is Epsom!
Thank you, Virginia for all you do for our state and Epsom! We love your enthusiasm, your deep knowledge and your passion for our wonderful Granite State!
Quotes of the Week: Being the Bigger Person
“Love people who hate you. Pray for people who have wronged you. It won’t just change their life…it’ll change yours.”
‘How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.”
“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
“Haters don’t really hate you, they hate themselves; because you’re a reflection of what they wish to be.”