viewpoint: Thanksgiving and Other Lessons

Jimmy Carter teaches agelessness, plus some reasons to be thankful.

Thanksgiving and Other Lessons
Jimmy Carter teaches agelessness, plus some reasons to be thankful.

It's rare that we're honored with a former president or Nobel laureate on the cover of Optometric Management, so let me start off this month's column by briefly sharing the two lessons I learned from Jimmy Carter.

First, age is irrelevant. At 78, Mr. Carter is doing some of the most vital work of his life. He monitors elections, he promotes democratic values around the world, he volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and other worthy causes. And he finds time to present a keynote address at the annual AOA Congress.

Next, actions speak louder than any title. Presidents typically make their most important contributions during their term in office. Yet Mr. Carter's impact did not end there. Many have noted that he has been more effective as a former president than as a president, which is arguably the most powerful title in the world.

Giving thanks

The Jimmy Carter feature, which begins on page 46, would not be possible without the help of Dr. Carlton Hicks, the former president's optometrist. I'd also like to thank our Chief Optometric Editor, Dr. Neil Gailmard, who first thought of the idea. Without his dedication and persistence, this feature would never have appeared in OM.

Gratitude as a strategy

This is a season for thanks, but is there a larger benefit here -- that is, can gratitude impact practice management? I'll answer as a patient.

When I moved, I got a referral for a local dentist. I phoned and the receptionist greeted me with, "Thanks for calling, how may we help you?"

My appointment was uneventful, except for this: When the doctor saw me, she thanked me for my patience. She could have apologized for the wait, but an apology might have implied a negative. Instead, she credited me with a positive character trait.

Let me add this: I never switched optometrists when I moved. Aside from providing excellent care, he and his staff always said thanks.

An OM thank you

Accordingly, I must thank the experts whose names are listed in the masthead on this page. Their skills make my job a pleasure.

Let me also note that Karen Rodemich has been named managing editor, a well-deserved promotion. I'd also like to welcome René Luthe, senior associate editor, to our team. Her experience in the eyecare industry makes her a valuable addition.

And don't let me forget you, the reader. Your comments, suggestions and criticisms help us to continuously improve our publication.