Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Atta boy

Two days ago, I got an email in my corporate email account from a manager:

Good morning all,

Check this post out - nice job in 2008!
Top 10 Posts for 2008

I’ve been contributing to my company’s corporate blog since its inception in September 2006. It’s been a creative release for me, something I truly enjoy doing because I write mostly about my mission trips or things dear to my heart. I’ve written about a visit to an orphanage in Ethiopia, my role as photographer on a medical mission trip to Senegal, West Africa, and many posts about trips to Ukraine to visit family. The company blog seems to have gotten more and more commercial in the last year, promoting company events and products more, personal posts less and less. At first I posted every three weeks. Then every four. Then every six weeks. But in the last year, I was asked to contribute only five times. Since the blog posts a new article every weekday, that’s a lot of posts. I did the math: 260 posts!

Imagine my surprise when I read the “Top 10 Posts for 2008” and found that one of my articles about my daughter was in 7th place for the year. I kept scrolling to see who else had placed. Third place, second place, first… First!? My article that I wrote about my brother’s death got first place?!?

I emailed the manager:

Hi Tom,

I'm stunned and humbled to be put in the #1 spot. Truth be told, I think it's due to my brother's popularity and to the sudden way in which he died. Just curious: did you come up with these top 10 by number of hits? When I looked at the blog metrics, they show that the Olympics blogs got the most hits.

Thanks again for suggesting that I participate in this blog. I've really enjoyed contributing.


He replied that it wasn’t all in the number of hits. I just couldn’t believe that it would be.


I am always touched by your posts, always!

Interest (visits), use of photography, comments, diversity all came into play.


Well, I was so excited that my article got first place that I emailed my family the link to the Top 10 Posts article and waited for a reaction. Wouldn’t they be happy for me? Excited that so many people were touched by the tragedy that befell our family?

I waited.

And waited.

Why is it that we want praise from our own? Wasn’t it enough that the company recognized my writing and photography?

My brother John opened the email – I got the return receipt – and said nothing.

My sister, who’s not a computer whiz, couldn’t get to the article. When I re-mailed the link, her reply was concise:


That led me to wonder whether she meant spot #7, or did she see that I also got spot #1? Or perhaps there was some jealousy? “Nice” was so understated that I thought John’s non-reply might be better. Left me to wondering at least.

Mom didn’t reply at all. She admitted she couldn’t figure out the link and didn’t even scroll down to Tom’s message. Mom definitely needs a bit of coaching on the computer.

Bless her heart, at least my sister-in-law Tammy cheered me:

wow - not one but 2 on the top 10 list, and #1 as well. (just wish it was about a happier occasion.)
you must be proud....

And finally, my busy youngest brother, the lawyer, reacted as I wished my other siblings had:

Wow! #1!

Atta boy Faith! Greg would be tickled.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)