Driving to school today my youngest daughter pointed to a house with a mural. The picture was of a turkey and two pilgrims.
Dad who are those guys with that turkey?
Oh, they are pilgrims.
They look happy.
They are. They are giving thanks.
Thanks for the turkey?
Yes, thanks for that too.
Why is the turkey still there?
What do you mean?
Aren’t they giving thanks to the turkey that they are going to eat?
Isn’t that bad?
Ummm. No, it’s especially important to give thanks for the lives that support us.
It’s bad for the turkey, she says shaking her head. If a monster were going to eat me and somebody took a picture and put it up on their house. I don’t think I would like it.
Well, yes. That’s a good point. But.. .
Do you think the turkey knows? Is it thankful?
No it doesn’t know. (In my mind, well yes studies show animals sense panic before they are, love this softener, harvested).
Are they hanging that picture up because we are eating turkey?
No it’s for Thanksgiving.
She is silent for the last few minutes of the drive.
We should come here on Saturday.
Do you think they will have a picture of a pig and us?
Saturday is bacon day at our house. I’m thankful for that.
Giving thanks is never as easy as it seems. It’s a great idea this time of the year to spend some time reflecting on what has led us to this exact moment in time.
Giving thanks is reverse navigation. By looking back at the year and the things we can truly be thankful of we can assess progress, measure outcomes and get an overall feel for how the year went. I see Thanksgiving as a time of reflection. New Year’s is the time for planning.
Nice as it is, there is also a shadow side to giving thanks. Draw a list of things that were painful or hard to deal with this year. Look back hard at them. What part did you play? More importantly, what did you learn?
Successful people learn from their victories and failures. Which one will you focus on during this reflection? Both, I can hear it from here. Both will teach you the most because they are a complete picture.
Most often when I meet a truly successful person and ask them, what’s the recipe? They reply, I do what other people don’t like to do.
What is it in your life that you could start doing that you may have been dodging? What would the outcomes be?
Play the table game. Go home and put on paper your greatest triumphs this year. Write them down and put them on dinner plates at your table. Next write your biggest failures or regrets. Put them on plates. Now for the fun, place two (one happy one sad) together and see what comes to mind.
For example, one of my biggest thanks is that my daughter didn’t wind up in the ER this year. One of my biggest regrets is that she has diabetes. Match these two up and what do I have?
The fact that she has an incurable disease is weighed in balance by the fact that my wife and I are truly doing our best to protect her from the ravages of the disease.
This exercise balances that scale for me. My scale was broken for a long time.
How about you? What did you write? What did you pair together?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I actually take the things I am thankful for and the ones’ that cause me pain and mix them up, dealing them out Vegas style. What comes together really makes me think harder about them than when I choose the pairings.
Stack up your cards and deal them out. Dinner is ready.
Photo Credit: Donal Link, Thank you for your Boudin -Stuffed Turkey Recipe, which is now our family tradition. Readers if you want to try something spectacular, click here: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Boudin-Stuffed-Turkey-Breast