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Christmas Letters, Dog Food and Reality Television


Every year during this time, we receive Christmas cards from families that include letters describing their various activities and status changes. Though I am sure they are usually well-intentioned, some of these updates seem like marketing-oriented press releases, which is why some have come to refer to them as “brag letters.” You probably know the kind of letters I’m talking about. “Jimmy was voted most wonderful ten year old in the tri-state area, Barbie and her husband, Ken, had the county’s most beautiful baby, and during our semi-monthly trip to Paris we had a great time eating escargot with Meryl Streep and her kids. All in all, a pretty ordinary year.”

Just once I’d like to get a letter that said, “Jimmy is starting to get body odor, the teenagers aren’t much fun to be around, Bob wrecked the car twice in one month and lost his insurance, I’ve gained about twenty pounds this year, and though I’m not pregnant, I’ve been asked twice since Thanksgiving when my baby is due.” What I’m saying is that life is messy for all of us, and sometimes it would be better if we all came clean once in a while so we could relax and not worry about keeping up with the fictional Jones’.

I was reminded of this the other day when a good friend came by our office at The Table Group. After just a few minutes of listening to our raw, wacky conversations and observing our always unfiltered interactions, he said, “you guys should put up hidden cameras in this place and make a reality show.”

What he was referring to is the messy, open and honest nature of our culture. Spend a week in our office, and you’re sure to witness at least one fairly intense argument, a lot of belly laughs, and more than a few overt sighs of frustration. And maybe if you’re lucky, someone will cry.

See, we really do eat our own dog food at The Table Group. It’s intense, supportive, uncomfortable, challenging, comforting and real. It’s not always pretty, but it allows us to be ourselves, at our best and occasionally at our worst. And we think that’s how great teams, and for that matter, great families, are probably meant to be.

So, we all hope that as you’re gratefully enjoying your Christmas turkey or ham this year, you’ll have a helping of dog food, too. And of course, that you will be blessed by it all.