A holiday wish for you

I was asked the other day if I was planning any New Year's resolutions. Since I already lead a flawless life, I see no need.

I jest, I jest.

Seriously, though, I'm sure that many of you participate in that annual ritual of pledging to learn a new skill, kick a bad habit or otherwise improve something about yourself in the year ahead. A few of you may even stick to it beyond mid-January.

Well, here's something I hope you'll all pledge to do, not next year, but during the few days remaining in this one:

Take a break.

For those who are entrenched in our public policy battles — and I mean not only those of us who make our living that way, but those who follow the process closely as well — it's easy to forget that there's more to life than debates over tax policy, charter schools and prevailing-wage laws.

Don't get me wrong: Those debates are extremely important. And you can be sure that we at NPRI will be fully engaged in them in the year ahead.

But for now, with the holiday season upon us, I hope you'll take some time to clear your head, enjoy the company of your loved ones and reflect on the deeper things that make this a uniquely special time of year.

I don't need to tell you that 2012 has been an arduous year in so many ways. But just as our victories and achievements are more enjoyable because they are shared with those closest to us, so, too, are our setbacks easier to endure because of the strength we draw from each other. Over the next few days, I hope you're able to surround yourself with the people and things that strengthen and comfort you the most, to put aside the worries that weigh on your mind throughout the year, and to have a joyful and peaceful holiday.

And to the staff here at NPRI, this all goes for you, too. Anyone who follows our work closely has likely gotten to know some of us, or at least our public personas, to some degree. In particular, Geoff Lawrence, Victor Joecks and I tend to be the ones who give the speeches, do the TV and radio interviews and get our names in the newspaper, and it's often said that we are the "faces" of the organization.

I can't say enough about how much I admire Geoff and Victor for their intelligence, work ethic and devotion to the cause that NPRI serves. But the same is true for each and every person who works here at the Institute. Not all of the names are well known, but the reason we've been able to thrive as an organization is the unyielding commitment of each and every member of our team.

I am so blessed and grateful to be a part of that team — and deeply indebted to my predecessor, Sharon Rossie, for her role in building it — and I want to offer my sincerest gratitude to the entire staff at NPRI for making the past year so amazing. It's an honor and a joy to work alongside all of you, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season — and a much-deserved rest.

Best wishes to you all, and may God bless you.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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