Making Time to Be Thankful

With Thanksgiving on the horizon this coming week I was thinking today about family gatherings, and about how we allow ourselves and our kids to behave one way when we’re relaxing at home, and expect other, more polite behaviors when with extended family or with “company.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having “home manners” and “company manners,” you should be able to relax and let your hair down, to use an older phrase, when you’re at home. But at the same time, you absolutely should know how to behave in front of adults that aren’t your family or VIP’s, everyone should be able to show a little self control and respect for several hours of a typical event, not to mention the few minutes of time that a surprise meeting or shopping trip may take the family.

I don’t think manners are outdated, nor is the idea of being thankful. It’s important to thank someone for holding a door open for you, for getting an item off a high shelf for you, taking time to meet or talk even though you know they’re super busy, for sending you a resource, for helping you with something at work, for helping you pick up the house, or any of the countless other ways people stop what they’re doing or make an extra effort to help you out. Thanking them shows you recognize they helped you and you’re grateful. It doesn’t take more than a second or two and can have a very positive impact for both of you.

These little moments are important, but they should become natural, just like changing the toilet paper roll when it’s out or brushing your teeth each day or eating when you get hungry. There’s another level to giving thanks though, and that’s when you make a point of keeping a daily gratitude journal, gathering for Thanksgiving to talk about what you’re thankful for, going to a Thanksgiving giving thanks/prayer service at a local church, making a weekly habit of highlighting and celebrating people who do good work in your company, or making a weekly habit of going around the table at dinner and expressing what you’re thankful for. Giving thanks in these ways requires a bigger commitment and effort, but it’s one that can pay even bigger results than thanking someone in passing does.

We truly do have so much to be thankful for, especially if we take time to stop and think about it all. Whether you have a gratitude journal, give thanks as a family or something else, what matters is not how you do it, but that you make time to count your blessings on a regular basis. Being thankful is one of the best practices you can pass on to the next generation, how will you be giving thanks this Thanksgiving?

Giving Thanks for Success

Thanksgiving is tomorrow here in the USA.  It’s one of my favorite holidays all year because it’s not a religious holiday that only some celebrate depending on their religion, or political/military holiday which, while universal, some may choose not to recognize because they don’t support the war/military actions (even though I think we should support those in the military even if we don’t agree with all military actions and campaigns).  Thanksgiving is a holiday that we all celebrate.

It’s a time for family and friends to gather over something we can all get behind and don’t get disappointed by: food.  While there are some traditions around the food that’s typically served, it’s less about the exact food that’s served, and more about the importance of gathering around the table together and taking time to celebrate all the things you’re thankful for, including those people around you.

The original Thanksgiving was a celebration of life, of staying alive for another year, even having hope that the next year would be better than the last and that the pilgrims might even be able to thrive in Plymouth.  Thanksgiving is a reminder that sometimes your successes come with challenges, that it’s not always easy to make success happen.  There were pilgrims who didn’t survive to see the First Thanksgiving or beyond, and some of the other early settlements were completely wiped out without any real success to show for their hard work.

That you’ve made it this far in 2018 is reason to celebrate and be thankful.  Maybe your year hasn’t gone the way you hoped it would or wanted it to, but I have a feeling that you’ve had at least a few victories that you can celebrate this Thursday.  I encourage you to share about and celebrate the successes that you’ve had this year on Thanksgiving with friends and/or family, you never know what doors could open because you share about what you’re thankful for.

What are You Thankful For?

I hope you’re ready to celebrate this week with family and friends. Thanksgiving is one of those unique holidays for us in America that doesn’t relate to a religion and therefore includes everyone in the celebration. And while many people may celebrate July 4th, I think more people in the US take time to gather together with friends and family in November to take time to remember what they’re all thankful for.

Sometimes the simple things of life are the best. This week I’m sure you’re thinking about the lists you’ve got for Thanksgiving dinner and maybe Christmas even, so I thought I would keep things simple today with a reminder from Tecumseh:

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”

What if being thankful wasn’t as complicated as we make it out to be? What if we didn’t have to have terrible events in our lives to be thankful for our life? What might our lives look like if we expressed our thanks more often? I know we’d be more positive and I bet we would be better able to take the tough stuff in stride. Our stress levels would be down and we’d have better relationships. Instead of looking for what was going wrong we’d focus on what was going right. This Thanksgiving I encourage you to take a step back from the whirlwind that is your life and take time each day for the rest of 2017 to write down 10 things you’re thankful for. They could be people, events, nature, or things, basically anything that has made you smile that day, went well or you appreciate. Here’s my list for today:

1 the sound of soothing rain drops outside my window
2 the opportunity to do good for the world and recycle
3 my cup of tea
4 being able to see the world around me
5 funny text messages from my partner
6 being able to work from home
7 helping lots of great individuals, families and businesses grow
8 clean, dry laundry
9 being able to support some great charities and organizations this year
10 you!

What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on why Thanksgiving is special for you.

I Dream of Christmas

One of the best things about kids is their intact imagination. As adults we tend to forget what it means to dream as we get wrapped up in the realities of our lives. Sure we can take a page from another person’s book and relive their (more interesting) life, but what if we were to take a page from our children’s lives and create a path all our own? I can remember as a child thinking of all the creative gifts I could give family and friends, now it’s all about what gift card, electronic item or equally simple something we can come up with. Where has all the creativity gone?

I get it, we’re all tired by the busy lives we lead, by the barrage of ads and lures of the internet, we have more going on in our lives and around us than ever before. It used to be fairly simple, just worrying about whether our crops would grow or when our children would get married or if we would get sick. Now we’ve got thousands of things demanding our time and attention, which makes it very hard to focus on anything but the simplest of solutions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about simple solutions; I can’t understand the people who think that things have to be complicated or done in as many steps as possible all the time. Why complicate what can be (and should be) very simple?

The holiday season is here, it’s a chance for us to be with friends and family, for us to dream about happy memories, of stories and tales on Santa and magical happenings, and to have a little more hope than usual that things will work out and work out well. I believe that if we unleashed our imaginations more than just in these 9 weeks between Halloween and the New Year that we’d be happier, healthier and freer people. We’d live lives of excitement, fulfillment and passion, if only we would be willing to dream a little dream again.

I encourage you to open up your mind and heart this weekend to the dream of what your life could be, imagine what the world could be just waiting to send your way in showers of blessings!

“I used my imagination to make the grass whatever color I wanted it to be.” Whoopi Goldberg