Happy Thinksgiving

November 23rd, 2017 Posted by Susan's Musings 21 comments

No, that isn’t a typo; its a deliberate misspelling. We are heading out soon to share a Thanksgiving feast with friends. Since we had a family celebration last weekend, most of our out-of-towners are unable to come back this week and, unfortunately, our in-towners are under the weather.  Friends graciously invited us to join them.

A quick thought before I get ready to go. As a mother, one of the earliest words I taught my children was thank-you. Even before they could possible repeat the words, I voiced the syllables when I handed them toys or food. I don’t think I am unique; millions of mothers do the same.

Perhaps that is because expressing gratitude is vitally important, but completely unnatural. We want it to become second nature for our children because we know that their lives will be happier and more successful if they appreciate what is done for them.

Saying thank-you changes the way we think. It encourages recognition of those who surround us rather than selfishness. It forces us to think of what we can do for others as we recognize what others do for us. It leads us to count our blessings rather than stew in our grievances. It encourages optimism rather than pessimism. It changes the way we think about ourselves, our families, friends, society, country and world.

So, it saddens me when companies send emails wishing me a “Happy Turkey Day,” or encouraging me to skip Thanksgiving altogether and start Black Friday sales on Thursday. I stage my own personal rebellion against the weakening of the holiday by not running to the market on Thanksgiving even if I forgot a necessary item. I preferred it when stores were closed.

I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with thought, discussion, meaningful conversation and connectivity. Be sure to throw in some turkey and cranberry sauce as well.

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21 comments

Jane Tuljus says:

Susan, I agree with you completely. Living a life of gratitude and expressing gratitude to others is so very important to our wellbeing and our character. If we as individuals remember we are not an island, we are often the product of the love and generosity of others, we maintain a healthy respect for the good things in our lives. And amen to the stores remaining closed!

Susan Lapin says:

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, Jane.

Edward Rubinstein says:

Leaving my sister’s after Thanksgiving, I was astounded at the number of cars and the lines to get into the Walmart in her area. It’s a sad, sad, time for America.

Susan Lapin says:

The “small” things add up to very big cultural changes.

Kristin Grose says:

As usual my sentiments as well, Susan. Thanks for validating us hopeless traditionalists 😉 A blessed Thanksgiving weekend to the big Lapin family.

Susan Lapin says:

Thanks, Kristin. And to your family as well.

Ann Switzer says:

There is a small town near me, here in Southern Ontario, which is still closed on Sundays. Isn’t that great? I go out of my way to deal with people there — and a few other farm gate markets closed on Sunday. As a child I remember Sunday as such a lovely church/family time. Everything changed pace.

Happy Thinksgiving to you as well. Ann

Susan Lapin says:

That is lovely, Ann. When we boat in British Columbia we find many more places closed on Sunday (though fewer each year) than in Washington State.

James says:

I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for you and the Rabbi sharing your AJW with us all and for the scripturally insightful commentary on so many of today’s confusing events.

Susan Lapin says:

And we are thankful for faithful readers and listeners like you, James.

LJ says:

Thank you, Susan, for posting this great reminder that it is important to think about how we thank others.

Our family lived in Linden, WA for four years and it is three miles from British Columbia where we could see Canada every day. The little Washington State town observed Sunday closing laws; it was also unlawful to mow one’s lawn on Sundays and it was once in the “Guinness” world records book for having the most churches per capita when the town had only about 5 to 10 thousand individuals living there! It was a time in our family’s past that we’ve cherished with fond memories. (We were still relatively newly wed because Paul was in Somalia, Africa for Operation Restore Hope when we were actually newlyweds.) We still have friends living in Linden.

Today is my husband’s birthday and I was born the day after him in the same year (tomorrow is my birthday.) Our only son just celebrated his birthday on the 13th Nov. (and our grandmothers of blessed memory were also November babies). November is always a grateful and celebratory time for us.

P.S. Susan, I loved your “Non-Musing Musing” family celebration post with your homemade, yummy looking treats! Mostly it was the reason you had to gather that touched me about it. It helps to build family strength to reflect and honor important life transitions together.

Susan Lapin says:

Well, happy birthday to all of you! We have a few “birthday cluster” months as well. I had no idea that Linden, WA had such a reputation.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear LJ–
We often used to drive through Linden and remember it as a lovely little town with a significant population of dedicated Christians many of Dutch heritage.
Cordially
RDL

Luda R. says:

I completely share the sentiment! The emphasis should be on the meaning of the holiday, family, traditions, togetherness… The whole notion of black Friday is so wrong on so many levels, starting with the name…
I am thankful to Rabbi Lapin and to you Susan for everything you do for all of us! When I’m down I listen to Rabbi Lapin’s podcasts or CDs, and he always manages to pick me up.
Thank you to both of you! Wishing many blessings to your big happy family!

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, Luda. We were at a very eclectic table yesterday and a number of people shared how Thanksgiving was always the one holiday that allowed them to connect to relatives from very different backgrounds in a shared appreciation for living in America.

Eldred says:

The name Black Friday is supposed to be because that’s traditionally when all the retailers get ‘back in the black’ – in other words, profitable…
But, I still don’t understand the draw of camping out, or standing in long lines with hundreds of people in the hopes of getting the 3 or 4 items the store has in stock.

Brian F. Tucker says:

I agree with all of the above. So THANK YOU for being you. And thank GOD for bringing you into our lives.
Happy Holidays,
Joyce & Brian

Susan Lapin says:

It’s sweet of you to write, Brian.

Richard Watson says:

perhaps it would do good for LaVar Ball to learn to say thank you to our president for helping to get his son home for Thanksgiving. a little humility can go a long way…..

William Brower says:

Miss Susan,
If I have not said it before, Thank you for the thoughtful essays that you and your husband work so hard to provide to us each week.
I had a discussion with my oldest son last week, over the importance of celebrating Thanksgiving on the designated Thursday. I held that it was important to observe it on the Thursday, and he held that as long as you celebrated with family it did not much matter when you actually gathered. He said that President Lincoln set the fourth Thursday of November as the day to give thanks, and that other countries celebrated it on different days.
Being older, I tend to follow tradition more closely. He is more loose about this sort of thing.
I do understand that he and his wife have a more extended family on her side and he is trying to satisfy everyone, which never works. My wife and I are not ones to try to make it difficult for him on the Holidays, and we will adjust our schedule to accommodate his.
The thing is that one of the things I am most thankful of is that he asked to join my law practice many years ago and we have remained friends through it all. To be truthful I depend on him for so many things these days. The hard thing is to remember to express that to him regularly.
Thanksgiving is a continual celebration. We thank Elohim ( I hope I have the usage correct) for our blessings each day. We thank our family, friends, comrades, country, Veterans and all without whom our life would be so tedious. But we need a catchall, a time that we can renew our appreciation for all the ones we neglect during the year. To me that is the beauty of Thanksgiving. It is akin to a day of atonement for all our sins acknowledged and forgotten.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and the Rabbi, and bless your loved ones.
Rambling again-
Bill Brower

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Bill-
I was thrilled to read that you are fortunate enough to have your son working with you in your law firm. I am a big enthusiast of families working together where possible.
We do appreciate your kind wishes and thank you for being part of our work and enjoying our writing.
Cordially
RDL

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