09:18 AM

President's Page: Be it resolved ...

Vol. 76, No. 1 / January - February 2020

Tom Bender

Thomas V. Bender is a member of the firm of Horn Aylward & Bandy, LLC in Kansas City.


The tricky part about writing a column for the Journal is the time span between submission and publishing. A newspaper article will be reasonably current; here, there is a 30-day lapse between when I submit this and when you read it. Trying to account for intervening events can be dicey.

For example, I might be a little premature in anointing the Kansas City Chiefs as the new Super Bowl champions. As of this submission, they are awaiting a January 12 playoff game; by the time of publication, I am hoping that the road to Miami was successful. But I have had similar hopes for cases which also went south (though without as much reward). So while hope springs eternal, I realize the difficulty in predicting the future.

That being said, it isn’t too much to predict that some shiny New Year’s resolutions have already become a little tarnished. My high school friend and I call each other on New Year’s Day and talk about our goals; he told me he was going to quit his poor eating habits, but then remembered that nobody likes a quitter. Every portion of life can be in the bullseye of resolutions: eating, exercising, saving, communicating, keeping in touch … all are saved up to the end of the year where, with a deep breath and a flinty look of commitment, we begin the race to do better in the year to come. Some stride ahead, confident and committed. Others slow down, stumble, and maybe head backwards to where they started or even beyond.

But what the heck, at least we try.

So let’s try again. This Journal should be hitting your desks around February 10, so the New Year resolution scorecards are in for the first month. For those who have made and kept their resolutions, congratulations. You are in rarified air in keeping to the task. Your willpower and focus are admirable and, frankly, likely a little annoying to your friends. But for the rest of us, as Mark Twain said, our past resolutions can be used to “begin paving hell with them.” So let’s throw those out — and make some new ones. And to be successful this time, make them manageable.

Please consider picking one of the manageable resolutions from each category below:

1. For one week, return every phone call and email within a business day.
2. Write one thank you note or email to a lawyer who helped make your practice better.
3. Go to coffee or lunch with someone whom you can mentor or who can mentor you.

1. Bring someone in the family to your office and then go to lunch with them.
2. Send a handwritten note to someone you love or admire.
3. Show kindness and patience to one person who you know is struggling.

1. Schedule a physical.
2. Schedule a physical.
3. Schedule a physical.

1. Send one letter to the editor or to an elected representative about something that matters to you.
2. Dial back your time online.
3. Have the courage to stand and share your thoughts with others about the issues that matter most.

Except for the last one (and maybe the most important in these times), the rest of the resolutions are manageable. And maybe in their accomplishment, you can start some new practices or habits that enrich your practices or prolong your lives. Resolve away — but whatever the resolutions, always first resolve to take care of yourself.

Your Missouri Bar is making its own resolutions to help better serve you and the citizens of our state. We have some larger tasks ahead of us, some of which are difficult to manage; but, like you, we too are also focusing on all the bite-size resolutions we can fulfill to make your bar better. As we move forward to accomplish this, we look forward to your continued input and suggestions for ways for us to do an even better job.

Good luck to you, and I look forward to hearing about your successes and sharing ours with you.