From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Thoughts for Thanksgiving
Oh my gosh…
Thanksgiving is upon us … already?
Having lived through many Thanksgivings, one would think it happened
automatically. In well-organized families, I suppose it is a predictable
occasion, but all families experience some amount of change from year to year.
New folks join the family, some folks will be absent, new friends may join in
your celebration, and everyone will have changed a little or a lot over the
course of the year. While it is comforting to re-create rituals from year to
year, the key to longevity of family traditions is to blend the new and the old.
Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.
- The holidays can be a time of joy or anxiety.
Originally, Thanksgiving was a time when folks came together to enjoy a
festive meal and express their thankfulness. In the attempt to maintain
traditions, it’s easy for holidays to become opportunities for conflict and
unrealistic expectations if the objective of repeating rituals exactly
becomes more important than celebrating togetherness. It is valuable to
remember that when family members, young and old, are invited to add their
creative touches, they bring more personal investment and enthusiasm to the
- Thanksgiving is a time for teaching children.
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to teach children how to cook, how to
entertain, and how to share with others. When we involve children in the
preparation of food, they not only learn to cook, but they also learn how to
appreciate recipes, how to entertain and make others feel at home. Learning
how to be a good host and sharing food, whether bought or brought, are
labors of love that are absolutely essential for preserving family
- Thanksgiving is a time to be considerate of those
who are less fortunate. As you
look around your workplace or neighborhood, you will likely see a friend or
acquaintance that for one reason or another will be alone during the
holidays. Here is an opportunity to express thankfulness by inviting them to
share in your abundance. When we
allow outsiders to join our family, our children learn about generosity,
they learn how to make new friends, and they may overcome a little bit of
shyness. In a world full of strangers, when we teach our children social
skills, we are also giving them survival skills.
- Thanksgiving is also a time to be mindful of those
who are not at your table.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends
who may or may not be part of your daily life. While it’s easier than ever
for folks to communicate, it takes a special effort to pick up the phone and
call folks with whom you’ve been out of touch. A visit to the sick, a call
to a long lost friend, or taking a meal to someone who is homebound or less
fortunate can often mean the world to that person whose life you touch.
If I was still in school and was asked what I like about Thanksgiving, I
would probably say the following. Thanksgiving is a great American holiday that
lasts up to four days, that emphasizes sharing and generosity without gifts, has
no religion so we don’t argue about who celebrates it correctly,
people of all ages celebrate the occasion equally well, and it doesn’t
require a costume. My very best wishes to all of my readers for a happy and
©Copyright, 2010, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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