It doesn’t really matter from which side of the fence your families came or which ocean or lands your families crossed to become Americans. It only matters that we can all share in celebrating this national holiday regardless of our politics, our religions, or our places of origin. Not only do we widely celebrate Thanksgiving, but we cherish this time of family gathering so much that we have made this holiday the most-traveled holiday of the year. What we’re saying over and over again by our actions is that we value family above all else. Our family is our tribe, our clan, our people, ourselves. It’s what molds us and makes us who we are. And everything about it impacts us profoundly.
So what do we do on this highly-valued day that makes it worth traveling great distances and even cooking day and night? Well, the secret ingredient is that we feast TOGETHER. And in doing this we bring not only who we are today, but we bring our own particular family heritage with us to the table. Maybe you have a special way of setting the table for Thanksgiving, a special turkey platter, or perhaps you use Aunt Addie’s delicious stuffing recipe or Grandma’s pecan pie recipe. Or maybe you have a certain way of arranging people at the table, maybe the children have their own table at the end of the long grown- up one, or maybe they insist on sitting with you at the grown-up table! Maybe you play board games after dinner, or the children run around the yard, the men catnap, and the women chat as they clear the table and do the dishes! Maybe the women rest and the men do the clean up! But whatever your rituals around Thanksgiving dinner, when everyone starts for home or you turn out the lights and tuck your children into their beds, you know you do have a lot for which to be thankful and somehow this great dinner you all shared brought it all home to you, reminded you of what truly matters in your life: your family and the time you spend together.
So my only question for you is this: Since you know now how powerful it is when your family gathers to break bread together, why don’t you commit to having your own simple family dinners every evening of every day? The memories these times create in the adults’ minds, wonderful and lasting as they are, pale in comparison to the life lessons the children gain when their own family routinely sits down for dinner, conversation, and fellowship.
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Director/Elementary 1 Teacher