7 Ways to Make This Thanksgiving Smooth as Gravy
We imagine right now that many in our world feel as though we are having an emotional civil war. Except, we’re not civil. Divided and angry, we’ve become disempowered and shut off from one another. Our good will toward man is like five-day-old Thanksgiving stuffing—dried up.
Some of us feel as though we don’t know where—or to whom—to look for inspiration, security, and integrity.
So, what can we do?
We believe the solution begins at the Thanksgiving table.
Here are 7 tips to reclaim peace, honor and good will in your family this Thanksgiving:
- Inner Creativity: We all have it—that innate brilliance and inner genius. Many brilliant ideas and movements have been born from exasperation, anger and general fed-upness-ness. Through role play, prepare ahead of time the topics you know may cause conflict. Talk through them while you’re chopping celery for the stuffing. Create your own table topics where each family member shares his/her thoughts and visions. Set the table for all voices to be heard.
- Unity: One of the things that makes relationships so dynamic and solid, is when people are both on the same page, even though they may have opposing perspectives. Agreement is reached to resolve differences, or merely to have respect override any alternate views.
- Courage: Find strength to create a mindset and energy of peace and safety. No eggshells on the floor for people to step on. Have the courage to be prepared for any land mines that someone might step on. Prepare young ones that someone might raise a voice, and it doesn’t mean anything, other than he or she is afraid of something. If at the table, someone brings up a charged comment, allow them a safe place to express themselves. If young children are present and Uncle Mike is red in the face and pounding the table, give a reassuring nod to the kids that this is what you’ve already talked about.
- Attention: Maybe we have allowed the current national concerns to bleed into our psyches, to sabotage our good will toward each other. We can do something about it. We can take back our freedom of expression. We can create our own movement and focus our attentions on the things that we and our family appreciate and values. Focus on family and friends—seek out the positive attributes. With each member at the table, find and highlight the moment where integrity has shone through. When Geoff lost his brother in the Second tower of the World Trade Center, his mantra became: This is not the way my brother’s life story is going to end. Contemptuous acts will not become his legacy. It will not define us.” We the people can choose to find our own strengths, shore up our own resolve, to think, feel and act with purpose and integrity.
- Respect: Respect has to be on the holiday table this Thanksgiving, right next to the turkey. We suggest have having a conversation prior to guests and family members showing up. For young kids, we would say, “Grandpa and Aunt Tonya feel differently than we do about some of the world problems. And it’s okay. That’s the country we live in, where everyone is able to have their own opinion. Practice these kinds of conversations every day. Role play. Share past problems and how you’ve resolved them, so younger generations can learn.
- You can always gracefully change the subject: “I know you feel passionate about this subject, but I intentionally changed the conversation because I want our family gathering to focus on the appreciation and gratitude we have that we can all come together to share a meal. We have a gift that some do not have. We know families whose members do not speak to one another; they never share anything. They remain alone in their differences and unwillingness to possibly forgive and respect one another.
- Add Humor. Have a few stories, memories ready-to-go. Nothing bonds a gathering more than retelling funny and even naughty times that grandparents or parents had. Or for teens, the toddler funny things that happened. The more the stories and memories are repeated, the better the connection meter is raised.
Gratitude is a choice.
Choose a second helping of gratefulness this Thanksgiving.