Thanksgiving has always represented a day to me when, whatever situation you’re in and wherever you find yourself, you go out of your way to be with your family and friends to share your life’s blessings. These were values instilled in me when I was growing up, and I’m more and more aware of the importance of instilling them in my own children now.
But how do you keep the traditions of Thanksgiving alive in a world where everyone seems to be busier and busier and where technology is changing our communication from face-to-face conversations to text messages on personal devices? I take two approaches to overcoming these kinds of challenges. First, I make it a point to work in our daily family conversations the things that we have to be thankful for. This includes everything from the basics such as our food, clothes, and house, to luxuries such as vacations and birthday and holiday gifts, to more intangible things such as our health and family time.
Second, I find a local charity, such as a food bank, where I can get my children some hands-on involvement in helping those less fortunate. I want them to get their hands dirty and see with their own eyes the help they can deliver to others as well as the need of the people they’re delivering it to. And I want them to walk away having a greater understanding of how lucky we are and how we cannot take our luck for granted, as there are many people just within our own community who don’t have what we have.
So, for us, we try to live the ideals of Thanksgiving every day. While it isn’t always easy to make this understood to young children, it’s something I firmly believe they need to understand so they are encouraged to give back to their communities.
I hope in the weeks before and after Thanksgiving that you, too, can find ways to remember to be thankful in your everyday life, and not just on the fourth Thursday of November.