As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s remember that the holiday’s name is a compound word – Thanks and Giving. Let’s all try to find and carry out new ways for enhancing the celebration of Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season ahead.
Despite obvious challenges, each of us has something to be thankful for – our lives, families, friendships, and work. While there is no perfection in life, I hope you consider the glass more than half full for most of us most of the time. Thanking those whom we love, admire, depend upon, and have positive relationships with is an important, but too infrequently practiced an activity. Let’s try and practice saying, “Thank You” more than a few times in the next few weeks. “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” (William A. Ward).
Here are some Thanks-Giving Thoughts – practice, share them…
Share with those with less fortunate than you. Consider the gift of one week’s grocery bill donated to a community food bank, domestic violence or homeless shelter, foster parent or elder services association as a gesture of appreciation for what we have, and what others do for the less fortunate.
Express your gratitude in word and deed to those who care for others as a profession or as volunteers. Compliment the good works of caregivers for our children and frail elders. Those caring individuals who clean the bottoms of babies and the bed-ridden, and help nurture and stimulate their minds, deserve the kindnesses of family members and neighbors all though the year, but especially at holiday time.
Give time to a worthy cause. Our volunteer time builds community and creates a great example for our youth. Whether we choose to sing in a choir, read to a child, blind person, mentor a youth, collect coats for the homeless, or visit a lonely elder, our time is a priceless gift which appreciates in value.
Conserve energy resources by consuming less fuel, reusing, and recycling. Our throw away culture is feeding our landfills with trash, and our air and water absorb the residue of pollutants. Preserving our environment is self-preservation, as well as a life-saving gift to wildlife, plant-life, and our children’s children.
Slow down. Stop and smell the roses! Whether behind the steering wheel or in conversation with others, speed is not a good thing. Being in a perpetual hurry endangers our lives on the road, and cuts short our relationships with others. Give yourself a few extra minutes in transit to be a safe driver especially during the holidays and wintry weather…and listen a bit longer to the words in conversation with loved ones and co-workers. Actively listen and show others that positive attention is a gift worth giving.
Put technology in its place. We live in a high-tech, low-touch culture, governed by the beeps, buzzes, and blinking lights of technology. As time is compressed, stress grows. Immediate response raises expectations, reduces careful consideration, and makes us more prone to error. Take a breather from all the technology, and ask others to be considerate in public and private spaces by turning the “on” switch “off.” We all need to rediscover that eye contact and voices are great ways to show we are focusing our attention on those who seek it. Cell phone, e-mail should not keep our loved ones on hold.
Advocate with assertion, not aggression. Free speech is not an invitation to be offensive. Responsible advocacy requires thoughtful purpose, practical solutions, and open conversation. Clear and consistent communication with allies and adversaries alike sets the stage for progress. Let’s all try to express ourselves in a heart-felt way with composure and grace.
Health is a form of wealth. So many people sadly take it for granted. Making sure we eat right, exercise, and take time to rest and relax are the keys to clear thinking and long-term effectiveness. Our bodies cannot support us unless our minds resolve to take care and be careful. And if we are not healthy, we can’t care of others.
Take optimism pills every morning….the time-release kind! 🙂 Negativity is contagious. Those who believe they will make a difference can achieve their goals. Pessimism is the mind’s way of giving up before the first step is taken. Those who want to make a change for the better in their lives, neighborhood, and the world around them, should stop whining and start winning – and if you want a glass of wine afterwards, that is acceptable! 🙂
As we plan for the holiday season, we should recognize that there are neighbors, young and elder, whose weeks ahead are not brimming with joy. For whatever reason, in whatever circumstance, we well know that there are people in need who can be helped if we choose to do so.
To honor and remember a family member or neighbor who was there for you when you needed them most, please thank those who illuminate our paths, exemplify kindness, teach justice, and nurture our futures – what a fitting tribute to the legacy of our ancestors and what a positive example for our future.
Try to remember and focus – your work, the gifts you share, and the example you set is an inspiration to one or many….♥