With commemorations of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, some have dubbed November as Random Acts of Kindness Month, encouraging expressions of gratitude. We have much to be thankful for, including the warmth of family and friends. Here in the Marina, many are volunteering to help serve those in need on Thanksgiving Day at the Santa Monica Civic Center.
Maybe you're planning to gather with family and friends around the table. Will you spend a few moments expressing your gratitude for the gifts of love and friendship you enjoy as well as for the many blessings bestowed on you. Saying thank you is one of the first phrases parents try to teach their children, but as adults - especially in this cruel economy - it is often difficult for us to express our gratitude.
We know that in 1621, the Pilgrims first spent a day of giving thanks for their abundance in the "new world." But it took over 100 years, not until 1777, when all of the 13 colonies joined together in a one-time thanksgiving celebration. And it was another 12 years later, in 1789, that President George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving. Why did it take so long - 168 years - to establish a holiday that now seems to be the favorite among Americans? It may be harder than you think to say, "thank you."
This year, plan to celebrate a Thanksgiving full of emotional as well as physical nourishment. When you focus on the positive ways that your family supports each other, rather than any tensions between you, it's easier to appreciate the blessings of these relationships as you sustain each other. Think about including expressions of gratitude for each other at the Thanksgiving table - and then make it a part of your daily lives. Make a conscious effort to recognize and value the generous actions of those close to you and emulate them when you can.
Even with harsh economic news - jobless rates still up and the stock market remaining down - we can still find a lot to be grateful about, especially during the holidays. The gift of appreciation - a heartfelt thank you - can be a daily present this holiday season for those you love and a gift you give to yourself. And the cost won't cut into your tight budget at all.
(c) 2011, Her Mentor Center