The Power of a Thanksgiving Note

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In case you’ve forgotten Thanksgiving will be here this week. Plans for turkey, football, family and friends are undoubtedly underway, well at least for most people. I know that if I lived alone and wasn’t near any family I would probably have a package of sandwich turkey, half a dozen rolls and two pumpkin pies in the fridge.

Anyhow, some families also try to continue traditions of saying thank you, you know going around the room and asking people to think of something they are thankful for. And these can be meaningful times but often the preschoolers are most thankful for their beds or stuffed animals, the teens their significant others or electronics and the parents of course for their wonderful families, even though they drove them nuts all morning.

But sure, do whatever is still special and meaningful for you. We can’t say thanks enough.

However, let me suggest you add one little thing this year. How about writing a note to just one person who has been extra special, kind or even not so noticed the last twelve months?

We’ve lost the tradition of actually taking a piece of paper or note card and putting a few caring thoughts there that we actually send to someone in the mail. Why would a thank-you card make a difference?

First of all, the person knows you took time to single them out. This wasn’t a group email from the office. You noticed something about them for which you are thankful and made the time to say it. That’s going to mean something.

Second, it will  most likely be the only one they get that day perhaps the whole season. When a person gets an email it’s usually one of ten, twelve or a hundred that must be sorted through to decide which to read. Not with your note. It will stand out especially above the ads, bills and magazines and perhaps even read first.

Third, it took more effort than other forms of communication. You can’t write a meaningful note very quickly. You have to think about it, take your time and actually put your words in an envelope and mail it.

There are lots of people who never get thanked and who would remember a note from you all year long. Try it. You still have time. I’ll bet you have some unused cards laying around somewhere, don’t you?

 

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Honoring Our Causes While Not Harming Our Culture

takekneeI’ve been hesitant to jump into the kneeling/standing/athletes fray since so much has been written, said, argued and even flaunted from many different perspectives, angles and passions.

However, living in a country in which free speech, dissent and protest are welcomed in  proper settings is going to garner ongoing clashes of individuals, groups and societies. And we must continue to navigate and hopefully use those times in healthy, helpful ways rather than take actions that alienate and even dishonor others, intentionally or otherwise.

And that’s the main problem I see with the current, very public and in my thinking misguided choices of athletes and others of late as they have been making their sincere protests visible. Let me suggest several problems with using athletic contests to make political, personal statements.

1.  Their demonstration is out of context and one-sided. If they were protesting their athletic pension fund, too little concussion research or the cost to attend games that would make sense. Instead, their issues became clouded and actions disrespectful because they simply chose a platform the rest of us don’t have. It also unfairly suggests that their issue affords this kind of attention and disruption of a major event while others apparently do not.

2.  The demonstrations are a needless distraction. People paid high dollars to bring their families to watch a game. Many of the children are not old enough to understand the issues anyway and for parents to explain it further at the game or at home will not help either. Rather than add to the fun of the day, for which they are being paid handsomely in most cases, the players merely added to the confusion for many.

3. There are better platforms and actions that will accomplish far more. If you want to protest, go where that protest will actually accomplish something. Go protest before meeting with city officials to help solve the problem. Go protest by rallying others to do the same and actually make a difference. Go protest by cleaning up some of the problems in neighborhoods or businesses that are exacerbating the problems.

4.  Remember where your freedom came from. To protest during the anthem for a country in which you have the greatest freedoms and largest rewards of any country in the world to do what you do only dishonors the people who have worked hard, fought valiantly and protested appropriately in the past to give you those benefits. We can still protest without hurting or defaming others in the process.

Imagine if a seven-year-old boy or girl were having a birthday party with lots of friends and their parents. And right in the middle of the party, one of the parents puts up a sign on the wall of the room expressing their views about the new taxes that the local community is going to assess.

Wouldn’t we say that this was the wrong context, that it was a needless distraction, that there are better platforms for his comments and that this person was actually dishonoring the child at the party by protesting in this way? Of course we would. It’s common sense.

So maybe we would be wise to add a little more common sense to our discourse and disagreements by finding better ways to make our statements while welcoming those of others. And let’s let the games be that . . . games.