I Give Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. To my good friends south of the border: yes we eat turkey, and watch football (Monday Night Football…or the Canadian Football League), and hang out with relatives – some of whom we legitimately like.

Kidding aside, here is a short list of what I am thankful for this year:

a) My wife. She is the rock on whom the foundation of OrgCode is built. Without her, I would not be able to travel every week and do the things I do. I love her for always. And she gave birth to our fourth child this year. I hope we do not need to create an intergenerational business of ending homelessness, but there are four replacements for me if things go that way.

b) What I get to do for a living. This is my passion. It is my vocation. The privilege of making a difference and doing what I love is not lost on me. I will never be rich. Somedays I am frustrated. But overall, I am happy.

c) My health. Maybe it is age, but the older I get the more things my doctor tells me to watch or is wrong with me. It is frustrating. I am trying to take care of myself to keep on trucking. I am grateful that I am healthy in a manner to keep this pace. I am especially thankful that my mental health has been well for some time.

d) The people I work with. I love my team. Maybe you know them and maybe you don’t. I know that I am frequently the face of OrgCode. Tracy checks in on my work-life balance and how I am doing. Jeff occasionally slips into friend mode to ask me how I am doing with my overall wellness and mental health. Katie is bringing new energy and joy to the team. Even when some of the OrgCode staff have changed (I still miss Gwen, Kieran and Ali, for example) I am grateful that amazing people want to be with me for the ride in ending homelessness.

e) My truck. I am not one for possessions or things. Except my truck. I LOVE my truck. I only get to drive it on Saturday usually, so the gas guzzling, environment destroying machine is used sparingly (this is a good thing).

f) People that inspire me. There are some organizations and people that I meet on the road that light the fire within me to keep striving to do more, to challenge myself, and to never surrender in the pursuit of being awesome.

g) The chance to teach. For more than a decade I have had the privilege or inspiring minds and sharing knowledge with Graduate Students at York University. What many of my students do not know is that they inspire me to learn and get better and stay on top of main currents of thought and practice in the field.

h) Reading. This is a recent thing I am thankful for, as I have been topping up my knowledge base heading into the leadership academy. Since the summer I have read more than a dozen books I have been wanting to read for some time. I am also committing to doing that more.

i) The blog. Once upon a time I toyed with the idea of writing a blog. I consulted with other bloggers. They encouraged me to go ahead and gave me some tips. Now? Well, in my travels and introductions to speaking engagements people frequently mention the blog. I guess it has an impact. I am glad to write it, but more glad that you read it.


Thanks for being you. Thanks for reading.

About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.

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