The school year seems to be flying by faster than ever. It is hard to believe that we have completed a marking period and are finishing up conferences. As we try to keep up with the many things that occupy our busy lives, I always look at Thanksgiving as the time we are given to slow down, for even just a day or two, to reflect and to give thanks.
While many people are struggling this Thanksgiving, plagued by a down economy or the loss or threat of loss of a job, there is no better time to look past the challenges to discover that even in the toughest times, there are always blessings. While economic issues often lead to high anxiety, it also allows us to look past our "stuff" to find that there are much more important things for which we should be thankful.
Most of us have food on our tables. For those who don't, our local food pantry continues to be a bastion of light. Our own students have had the great opportunity to work with the food pantry, giving back to the community while learning that there are struggling people in our own township. As you eat dinner during the holidays, don't forget to give thanks and remember those who are going hungry.
Most of us have a warm coat to wear this winter. For those who don't, local organizations are stocking up on donated coats. Many of you contributed to our recent coat drive - parting with a coat that has been sitting in your closet so that someone may be warm this winter. As you put your coat on each cold morning, don't forget to give thanks and remember those who are cold.
Most of us have a home to live in. Throughout the United States, many people have lost everything, including their homes due to the economy. As you sit in your heated house this holiday season, don't forget to give thanks and remember those who are sleeping on the ground outside.
There are so many little things that often get overlooked because we cannot see through or beyond our stuff. As stuff becomes less available and far less important, it becomes easier to find what is really important. Those who have experienced a reduction in salary can still give thanks that they have a job. Those who see their child is not bringing home straight A's can still give thanks that they have a healthy child. Those who cannot buy the large flat screen television or laptop can still give thanks that they have their families intact. Those who have loved ones fighting overseas can still give thanks that they are alive and are willing to sacrifice for our freedom.
In 1789, George Washington gave the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation. Since then, nearly every United States President has done the same. Take a moment to check out this link to see how our leaders have given thanks throughout the history of our great nation.
This Thanksgiving will be a tough one for many people. I encourage you though, to focus on what is good in your life rather than what is going wrong; focus on what you do have rather than what you don't have; focus on how your life may have become better due to the economy rather than how it has become worse. It is by giving thanks that we teach our children to help others, to cherish blessings and to have hope. If anything positive can come out of the current recession, maybe it can be that we examined our lives to determine what is truly important.