Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving is not a Day

This is the season for families. Or for hurting about families or missing families or wishing your family were like what you wanted or wondering why they aren't. It's about expectations and hopes for a family of your own. It's about wanting what you can't have, wondering how to get what you want or wishing you did it differently, a long time ago. It's about regret and also about hope. It supposed to be about being grateful for what there is.

I see this time as an opportunity to look back and remember and also to look back and reflect on how we can make everyday a better place for the people that we are connected to. Sometimes it is an opportunity to do it better or differently from here on in.

Making the conscious decision to couple up and have children is often not conscious at all. I think that living things ( like people ) are biologically driven to have children. That is the only insurance we little people have to keep the species alive. Let's not talk about the bigger picture ( politics and clean air, clean water and world peace right now ). So we are biologically driven to reproduce ourselves. That's often too easy for some people and impossible for others. But just reproducing ourselves is only the beginning.

The goal of parenting to let the children grow and go. They take what we give and make what they can of themselves and their lives and hopefully we have imparted the skills they need to survive. We should take from our own families and experiences ( whether good or bad, neutral or not ) the lessons of living honorable lives and hope to pass it on. The lessons are simple: be nice; judge not and don't take what doesn't belong to you. Treat that person next to you the way you would hope to be treated yourself. Play fair and leave some for the next person.

We sometimes get caught up in the season and forget that it's just a time of year. Everyday should be about being thankful for what we have been given and reflective about how best to give it back and pass it on. Thankfully, many of us have become more conscious about this as the commercialism and false expectations about home hearth are marketed to us. We have a chance everyday, to be respectful and kind, giving and forgiving. And I think that is what making a family and passing on values is essentially about.

As young families grow, there is plenty of time to make mistakes and re-evaluate how to do it better. It is all about learning and not about doing it right the very first time. Over time, generations then, there is hope for the race to not only continue but to get better and evolve into what we all wish for: for our families, on a very personal level, to be havens of peace and acceptance however we are. Thanksgiving is not a day: it is a way of life. Happy seasons of life!!