This Year, A Dash

Danielle Putnam
Contributing Writer
President, The New Flat Rate

We started a book club. A company book club. At first, I thought, “Is this really going to work? Can I really get my team to read one book each month AND to open up and talk about it?”

The first few books were short and sweet, quick reads.

The purpose of the book club was to encourage our team culture to be a culture of learning.

This month we read a short and sweet, encouraging self-help book called The Dash.

As we gathered together to each share our take-a-ways from the book and how we can apply the book to The New Flat Rate, everyone was in awe. The personal stories each team member shared about how this book caused them to reflect on certain times and people in their lives, and how it encouraged them to go above and beyond to help people more often, and to be kind, even to those who are against us, was sobering.

I would be remiss if I did not share with you The Dash which is about a poem, and the poem goes like this:

The Dash

by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

By Linda Ellis, Copyright © Inspire Kindness, 1996,

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