The Background Story of The Thought of the Day

Bill Keating, Jr. started the Thought of the Day on September 5, 2000 when his oldest son left for college. He never missed a day for over 16 years. After he passed away at the age of 63 following a battle with cancer, his daughter Liz Keating took over the daily inspirational emails. You can sign up to join the Thought of the Day list at the bottom of this page.

Below is the letter Bill would send to anyone who signed up to received the THD emails.

Since my oldest son left for college, I have been sending my five children the “Thought of the Day” to give them some fatherly advice and to let them know that I am thinking of them daily. I have not missed a day since September 5, 2000.

Over the years, I added people to the blind carbon list. Some then forward the Thoughts of the Day on to their kids, students, athletes or co-workers.

I now send it to over 2,500 people and by the time they forward it on, almost 30,000 people end up getting it.

Below are some of my favorite prior Thoughts of the Day.

Don’t just HAVE a great day, MAKE a great day!

Better yet, make a great day for someone else!

Bill Keating

Local Dad’s Advice Emailed to 3,000 Every Day

Sydney Benter

“I remind myself every morning – nothing I say this day will teach me anything. If I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” – Larry King

To Do Today: Tap the wealth of knowledge around you by watching, listening and learning from others.

“The most important single influence in a person’s life is another person.”

To Do Today:   Each day you are a role model to someone else. What is that person learning from you today?

“Six people taught me all I know – their names were: Where, What, When, Why, How and Who.” – Rudyard Kipling

To Do Today: “Life is a school – learn something new wherever you may be, wherever you may go, and  wherever you may turn.” – Walter Witt

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

To Do Today: “Be a life learner for you can’t lead and teach others what you have not learned yourself.” – Friar Telly, II


As you begin your career, I want to share with you some helpful suggestions that I have learned over the years.

1.)  Meet and Remember.  You can develop your people network by introducing yourself to others and remembering their names – if you treat everyone with courtesy and respect and try to be helpful, they will also remember you.

2.)  Listen and Learn.  Treat everyone as your teacher – you can always learn more, you can never learn less.  Take a genuine interest in each person you meet – you will learn something and also build a relationship.

3.)  Be on Time.  Be respectful of others – show up on time physically and mentally.

4.)  Understand How Others Think.  Understanding is a two-way street – you need to consider things from the other person’s point of view.

5.)  It’s All in the Presentation.  You must communicate in the language of the listener – you can have great ideas, but if you cannot convey them to the listener, you cannot put them into action.

6.)  Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Good plans shape good decisions – plan your day and work your plan.  Prepare your daily ‘To Do List” and use it.  Never mistake activity for achievement – ask yourself, “Am I spending my time wisely?”

7.)  Make Yourself More Useful.  It’s not how valuable you think you are, it is how valuable others think you are – always make yourself more helpful and give people more than they expect.

8.)  Life Rewards Results.  Provide solutions, not just answers – the best jobs go to the person who can deliver results without coming back with excuses.  Do better work than others and keep on doing it.

9.)  Only You Are Responsible for You. Do not make the mistake of thinking you are working for someone else – it’s YOUR job and YOUR career.  YOUR success is based on YOUR commitment to be the best YOU can be.

10.)  Most importantly, Play Fair.  All you have in life is your reputation and your integrity – always do what’s right.

Liz,  Follow your dreams and enjoy the journey, and always remember – I believe in you!



“Your Merry Christmas depended on what others did for you … but your Happy New Year will depend on what you do for others.” – Unknown

To Do Today: “Make at least one person happy every day.  Then by year-end you will have made 365 persons happy and lifted the spirits of your community by your actions.”

If you want a degree, go to class. If you to get an education, get involved.

To Do Today:  “Get involved – it will teach you how to work with people and knowing how to effectively get along with others is the greatest education you can get.” – George Freshting

When I first sent this THD, I thought it applied only when you were in school.

I’ve now learned it applies for a lifetime.

As Teddy Roosevelt said ,“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

The more you get involved, the more you learn, the more people you meet and the more friends you make.

Four Keys to Success:

(1) Show Up on Time.

(2) Do What You Say You Are Going To Do.

(3) Finish What You Start.

(4) Say Please and Thank You

To Do Today:  Post the four keys to success at your desk and follow them.

If history repeats itself, again this year by October 15, I will get calls from at least 4 parents.

Besides the cost and possible jail time, you may have to DISCLOSE one of these convictions on your JOB APPLICATION.

Call 1–Charge: underage drinking (drinking at a campus party).

Sentence:  200 hours of community service

Call 2–Charge: having a fake id (using a fake id at a bar).

Sentence: $150 fine, 100 hours of community service

(Please note: making and distributing fake ids is a felony which can involve jail time.)

Call 3—Charge: disorderly conduct, assault (bar fight).

Sentence: $250 fine, 90 days in jail (suspended), one year probation.

Call 4–Charge: driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (driving a car after drinking).

Sentence: $250 fine, 3 days in jail, suspended driver’s license, purchase of high risk insurance.

A DUI is expensive: The total costs of a DUI starts at $5000 and could end in death.  A cab is less than $100. I’ll reimburse    you for a cab but not a DUI.

To Do Today:  Trust your instincts and don’t do anything stupid.



The job is still yours to do because you do it best.

To Do Today:  “Train your successor to do the job better and then you can move up.” – George Freshting

“I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.” – An English Professor, Ohio University

To Do Today: Your communication skills impact ALL your courses. You must write legibly, speak clearly, and use proper grammar and correct spelling.  If your teacher cannot read or understand your answer, you will receive a lower grade.

Another Thought: Your communication skills will also impact your success in your career.  You cannot teach, sell, consult or manage unless you can communicate in a way your student, customer, client or employee can understand and act on what you say or write.

“If in the last few years you hadn’t discarded a major opinion or acquired a new one, check your pulse. You may be dead.” – Gelett Burgress

To Do Today: Challenge your opinions – “If you never alter your opinion you are like standing water which results in a stagnant mind.” – William Blake

“A life without a cause is a life without an effect.” – Barbarella

To Do Today: Find a need in our community and fill it – your actions to improve the lives of others will create a ripple effect throughout our galaxy.

“You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.” – J.S. Knox

To Do Today:  “Actually, you can antagonize and influence someone at the same time. As you antagonize a person, you influence them to work against you. Make allies, not enemies.”  – Friar Telly, II

“Happiness in life is made up of sharing the little things – a smile, a hug, a moment of laughter.” – Helen Keller

To Do Today: “Take up a new hobby – some people garden, others collect coins – start collecting smiles. When you remember a person or an event in their lives or acknowledge their efforts,  it makes that person feel special and brings a smile to their face. As you watch (collect) their smile,  it will make you smile too.” – Freshting

Thought of the Day: Dad’s Rules.

Jack, Liz, Caroline, Paul, Joe,

As you begin you new school year (and Jack, your career) please consider these 5 rules:

1.)   OU, UCLA, BGSU, IU and UC  have given you a great opportunity to excel academically and athletically; take advantage of that opportunity.

2.)     Trust your instincts; if it doesn’t’ feel right, don’t do it.

3.)     Be safe; pay attention to your surroundings.

4.)     Don’t do anything stupid. (Be wary of the person who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.)

5.)     If you need me, call me.  I will help you, not yell at you.



To do this school year:  Post these rules on your wall and follow them!

“There are too many people, and too few human beings.”  – Robert Zend

To Do Today: “So long as we live among men and women, let us cherish humanity.” – Andre Gide

All you have in life is your reputation and your integrity. Don’t jeopardize your future by trying to impress somebody who will not be important in your life a few years from now.

If you find it tough to say “no”, just say “maybe later” and then don’t be around later. For example, question: “do you want a beer?” answer:  “maybe later.” Then be gone before later comes or when you are asked again either simply repeat “maybe later” or just say “no.”

To Do Today:  Keep in mind a dead fool’s final words, “Hey, watch this!”   Be safe and don’t do anything stupid.

As you begin your school year, I am reminded of one of Grandpa’s favorite sayings:

“Start well,  finish well.”

The more organized you are at the beginning the better the results at the end.

To Do Today:  Establish a schedule. Get into a routine. When in doubt, go to the library.

Great grades create great opportunities.

Have a great school year!


© WJK THD 2017

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