The problems facing our nation are many and complex.
By SARALEE RHOADS
Special to The Star
Our nation is more polarized than perhaps at any time in its history.
Our world teeters on chaos, with terror, extremist regimes and natural disasters dotting the globe.
Amid it all, Thanksgiving lies before us.
As overwhelming as the state of our nation, economy, health care and world is, there lies beneath it all a bedrock for which we can be thankful. Family, friends and, in some cases, neighborhoods still provide a framework for our lives. Our faith forms an absolute in the shifting sands of policy and uncertainty.
Our nation is steeped in Thanksgiving lore, and I suggest we immerse ourselves in it.
A thankful heart enriches not just each of us individually, but also that framework in which we live and work. It blesses everyone around us.
To make giving thanks a lifetime ritual in your home, I could suggest several small habits which would cement the essence of this wonderful holiday into your everyday lives.
Of course, remembering to say, thank you to clerks who assist you, people who clear your table at a restaurant, and family members who serve you rank on high that list.
Giving to those less fortunate, serving others, making meals for neighbor families when a mother is in the hospital all these give us a chance to be thankful for our own blessings.
Buying a meal for a soldier, policeman, or firefighter at a restaurant is another way to acknowledge the service others give us. Remembering to thank God for your blessings, especially your meals, is a way to weave gratitude into your childrens daily lives. We teach by example as well as verbal instruction.
In our household we teach the little ones the attitude of gratitude. It means thank you with a hug. They learn a synonym, a meaning, and how to act on the meaning in five short words. They learn what Thanksgiving is all about: not just feeling, but expressing gratitude. It doesnt exist in a vacuum within our empty minds. We feel grateful, so we act on the feeling and give a hug. We are sincere.
Making Thanksgiving less a feast and more a holiday requires weaving meaning into the little details. A favor at each place setting projects a thought into the day without the need to preach a single word. I like to print a simple phrase which children can practice reading and adults can choose to talk about or ignore. Writing I am 110 percent thankful for pumpkin pie: True or False? gives the reader something to think or smile about as opposed to I am thankful for pie. They share the same meaning, but there is a world of difference in the response. The reader will chuckle and often read the little phrase, and instantly we all feel more thankful for our pie.
I find myself thankful for our freedoms, for health despite the fatigue of aging, and most of all, for family. I find myself thankful for the community in which I live, for I find much good around me. I find myself looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, as I do every year, with each gift I make.
Let me close with wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Keep reading!
Saralee Rhoads has worked as a nurse and homeschooling advocate and is founder of Families for Home Education. She lives in Sibley, Mo. To reach her, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Midwest Voices, c/o Editorial Page, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.