Families Can Come Together During the Holidays

By Jeff Thomas

Thanksgiving is a holiday that most people can celebrate. Fortunate families flock together for a big family meal.  Festive talk and happy reunions mark the day. For some it is viewed as the beginning of the buying season for Christmas. Yet the underlying reason for Thanksgiving is barely noted any longer, and only schoolchildren come close to observing the notion of giving thanks and expressing gratitude. In general people often view holidays as little more than a day to take off work, but somehow Thanksgiving promises more in its very name than we tend to give it in practice.

Traditionally school children are taught that Thanksgiving commemorates the first harvest feast shared by indigenous people and settlers. Every year school kids decorate the halls and classrooms with pictures of hand turkeys and maize depicting the first celebration when the Pilgrims reportedly celebrated living through the first year and prospering. The feast element comes from this very sense of success, since the bounty the Pilgrims produced was brought to the table as proof that they had been successful in growing certain crops given them by the Indians and in either raising or successfully hunting certain domestic and wild animals. It is clear whether the settlers really had deer instead of turkey for Thanksgiving, but somewhere along the way that element was added to the celebration.

As schoolchildren smarten their schools by posting pictures, we fortify our lives by gathering around the family table and talking. In our time, days are extremely busy. Many people are too busy to spend any quality time in any significant amount. Families blur past each other going to the next engagement.  Genuine talk is rare, unless some crisis arises. Thursday at the dinner table the great bounty should be abundant talk. And while those first Pilgrims may have measured success by simply surviving, then we all have issues that can be discussed, brainstormed and possibly resolved. And the children should be heard and off their screens.  Holidays are more relaxed and children more likely to talk.  Hopefully their goals and the family’s principles are in sync.  The patriarchs and matriarchs must set high standards and goals.  Through casual, fun, nonjudgmental conversation family togetherness and strength grows. So use this Thanksgiving to strengthen our family ties.  And a strong family is a reason to be thankful.  Strong families produce strong people.

Relax Thursday!  Enjoy your family!

As we all get better, we all get better!

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