In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln nominated the last Thursday of November as the nation’s day of Thanksgiving. Ever since then, families have united around a shared meal to give their thanks to each other. Unlike almost every other holiday now, Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the giving of material items and yet it is an important time for giving. We will all undoubtedly spend a moment contemplating the things for which we are genuinely grateful; giving thanks for their presence in our lives. However, I would encourage us all to spare a thought for the other things we can so freely give to one another that will make a lasting difference in people’s lives.
In addition to your gratitude, I invite you to consider how you might also give others your
· patience as we learn to better understand each other,
· acceptance for who they are and not who we want them to be,
· respect for their uniqueness, even if you don’t always agree with their point of view,
· support when they need it most so they can grow strong,
· an ear to listen when they need someone to be there,
· trust and confidence to inspire them to reach their dreams,
· time to share experiences that form bounds of real community,
· wisdom to help guide each other through the difficult journey of life,
· appreciation in the things they do no matter how small,
· empathy so we can understand their joy and their pain,
· understanding that to err is human,
· friendship so no one feels alone,
· love and kindness that are the building blocks of a nurturing community.
As a principal of an international school I am often asked what makes an internationally minded individual. I can’t seem to answer that question without touching on how they freely give to others much of what is listed above.
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to give. This year, maybe we can think about what else we can give to make this world a better place for our children to grow up.