Thanksgiving: District 56 Style
During the month of November employees are focusing on the little things for which they are thankful. Too often Thanksgiving gets the short shrift in holiday marketing since it isn’t as easy a sell as Halloween and even Christmas.
Typically, Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays remaining where retail aisles move directly from Halloween to Christmas; however, in District 56 we are intentionally focusing on the little things that provide us joy, happiness, and ultimately a sense of true thanksgiving.
I have found in my fifty-nine years many of the most thankful people are those of meager means. Thankful people are giving people, even if only “the widow’s mite.” Educators are by nature giving people. Some of the most influential people in my life are teachers who gave of themselves to help me: their time, their words of encouragement, and their moments of much needed discipline.
We Americans are well versed in the Thanksgiving story about the Pilgrims, the Indians (now Native Americans), and celebration from which we derive our Thanksgiving holiday. We are far less versed in living an intentional life of Thanksgiving daily.
A Materialistic society, non-stop commercials, and products too numerous to name clamor for our attention and our resources, each promising satisfaction and eternal satiation...until the newer model comes out.
This month in District 56 is designated “30 Days of Thanksgiving” for thirty of the little things in life for which we are thankful. Employees are encouraged to write a few sentences about the prompt and keep it to themselves. During Thanksgiving the intention is to pull out the list and review the little blessings as a testament to true daily thanksgiving.
For example, we have had the following prompts thus far:
What song are you most thankful for?
What holiday are you most thankful for?
What place are you most thankful for?
What in nature are you most thankful for?
What technology are you most thankful for?
What memory are you most thankful for?
Each of the above items do not necessarily cost a lot of money but in every case provides opportunities to reflect and to appreciate the little things. Family, friends, faith, health, and our nation are all things with which we have been blessed. We are fortunate to be alive, fortunate to be given the chance to make a difference in someone else’s life, fortunate to be able to read this editorial. We are so remarkably blessed. Are we as thankful as we should be? Likely not. But the good news is we can start today with a renewed spirit of thanksgiving and appreciation.
Ms. Norma Patterson, former 5K teacher and present 5K assistant, said it best: “Here is a quote from a book that I read to my kindergarteners. It fits our November theme well. The book is The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood.
"The heart that gives thanks is a happy one,
for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.
The more we say thanks, the more we find to be thankful for.
And the more we find to be thankful for, the happier we become.
We don't give thanks because we're happy.
We are happy because we give thanks."
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us in Laurens County School District 56!
(Dr. David O’Shields is superintendent of District 56.)