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ADG President’s Message
Arthur N. Taylor, Kappa

What is the greatest gift of all?

Ask the Pilgrims from the early days of the New World and they might tell you it is the freedom to live as their hearts desire; or it could be the aid and assistance of strangers in a strange land; or possibly it is the simple gift of a little food and companionship during a bountiful harvest. Ask the Magi and they might tell you it is the luxurious offerings of gold, the sweet aroma of incense, or the foreboding yet comforting presence of myrrh. Ask O. Henry and he might tell you the gift of oneself to another is the greatest and most touching gift of all.

Others might have a different view on the matter, especially in these contemporary settings. For a selfish boy or girl around the holidays, the best gift from their grandparents is often a check with at least three digits written on the front. For other children, it might be the newest and coolest action figure or fashion doll. For grownups, maybe the ideal present is that luxury item, such as an automobile or marine vehicle that they have been eyeing for some time now. For the grandparent, maybe the smallest gift is the best, in the form of a holiday picture card of the family far away during the holidays.

These are all fine and suitable. One must not too quickly dismiss the greedy-but-innocent heart of a young child during Christmas. In the same manner, the strains of commercialism ring even heartier when one is older and the toys become more expensive; that kind of want also helps to drive the economy, which, these days, is rather a good thing. Someday, too, we will likely all drop these carefree desires in lieu of the precious trinkets that mean love and warmth from our friends and family.

Still, I say there is a greater gift that one man or woman can give to another: time.

As much as the SPCA, The United Way, and Habitat for Humanity want and need donations of property and currency, they cherish volunteers more than anything else. While your lightly-used and unwanted treasures will no doubt go to good use in your community, your time is a gift that cannot be exchanged for any amount of money. Similarly, your time spent with friends and family is equally cherished and valuable. One can easily laugh off advertising that manipulates the viewer through maudlin displays and preys upon the emotions, but under the layers of marketing, how important is it really to be home in time for Thanksgiving? The older you get, the more vital it becomes. For time is the only thing you can spend and not get back.


It is this gift that we now owe to our chapters, both near and far. Yes, this is the home stretch of the year when our time, among other resources, becomes so much more valuable and is stretched so thin. This is why it means so much to the fraternity on the whole. While every active chapter certainly could make use out of a donation of funds, I cannot name one that would not gladly trade that in for your presence. It means so much more to see a face than to cash a check.

Is this perhaps unrealistic? At first glance, I suppose so. As it is, I find it extremely difficult to visit my own chapter these days, mainly because my time is also divided between chapter visits across the country, my full-time employment, and my own friends and family at home. Still, I do try to visit as often as I can and to lend whatever support I am able to. True, it might not be much, but I remember how it felt to me when I was an undergraduate to see the ‘older guys’ stop on by and share some knowledge with a ‘humble active’ like myself.

Brothers, your time is very valuable to you, to your families, to your friends, to your fraternity, and to those around you in whatever endeavors you involve yourselves. I know it will not be possible for each and every one of you to devote even one day a year to your chapter, or the chapter closest to you. What I would hope for, though, is for some out there to say, “Hey, I can promise them one day a semester; that is definitely doable.” What I ask of you, though, is to not rely on someone else to have that thought, but to make that effort yourself.

By the same token, however, I am imploring the chapters to do likewise in regards to their alumni; I am asking them to reach out to you first, to be the ones who say, “Hey, brother, could you spare a day or two and stop on by for a visit?” This is a two-way street, and the onus is not on you alone. How else will you know when to visit if you are not made aware of the time frame?

Most of all, Alphadelts, spend some quality time with your families this year. Whatever you do for a living, I hope you find time to spend with those for whom you are working so hard . Let us never lose sight of the most important treasures in our lives, our loved ones. In this holiday season, I hope you have plenty to be thankful for, plenty to celebrate, and many bright hopes for the days to come.

The doors of Alpha Delta Gamma are always open to you, so please feel free to stop on by any time for a visit. The ‘City Walled’ remains so to this day because of your efforts and those whom you continue to inspire. Keep the flame of friendship glowing strong, and I wish you the best, the warmest, the brightest, and the most blessed this holiday season!