By Lisa Coscino, SFSNAD Executive Director
In April 1896, William James's students from his Radcliffe College Philosophy 2A course sent him a potted Azalea plant. In response, he wrote the following letter to the class:
Dear Young Ladies,
I am deeply touched by your remembrance. It is the first time anyone ever treated me so kindly, so you may well believe that the impression on the heart of the lonely sufferer will be even more durable than the impression on your minds of all the teachings of Philosophy 2A. I now perceive one immense omission in my Psychology, - the deepest principle of Human Nature is the craving to be appreciated, and I left it out altogether from the book (The Principles of Psychology, first published in 1890), because I had never had it gratified till now…believe in the extreme pleasure you have caused me, and in the affectionate feelings with which I am and shall always be faithfully your friend,
“...the deepest principle of Human Nature is the craving to be appreciated…” For me, this sentence says so much. I am less interested in being thanked for something than in feeling appreciated for what I did or how I contributed. It’s the acknowledgement that my contribution made a difference that matters most to me. I am also moved by how a simple potted azalea could mean so much to one person.
While we may not have enough potted azaleas to send to everyone who has made a difference for SFSNAD this year, we do have enough appreciation to sprinkle, like love, across our community. So here goes: virtual potted azaleas for everyone!!
To our supporters: in-kind and financial, shoppers, and members: 802 potted azaleas full of thanks.
To our volunteers: Friends of SFSAND, Board and Advisory Board: 40 potted azaleas full of gratitude.
To our students and webinar guests: 3,519 potted azaleas filled with appreciation.
To our visitors: party guests, friends and family, exhibition viewers, and special event attendees: 966 potted azaleas full of love.
To our Educators, staff, artists, speakers, and teammates: 115 potted azaleas full of flowers.
To our likers, sharers, and followers: 43,559 potted azaleas full of gratefulness.
As you can see from these numbers, we are fortunate enough to appreciate a lot of people. So many people contribute in so many different ways to help us meet our mission and vision, and each one of these contributions is paramount to our success.
As you celebrate this season of thanks with friends and family, here is a note from us at with a little bit of help from William James...believe in the extreme pleasure you have caused us, and in the affectionate feelings with which we are and shall always be faithfully your friend,